We are experts in designing and delivering meaningful engagement processes and learning experiences that create impact and deliver genuine outcomes.
Our approach always responds to the local context and history, reflecting our passion for community-led and collaborative approaches.
Our learning experiences build the capacity of local council and community organisations in good governance, conflict resolution and navigating the government system.
We get called in to help when people haven’t been listened to or tricky issues haven’t been properly resolved.
If you’d like to know more, we’d love to talk.
Our track record
We’ve designed and delivered hundreds of engagement processes about the big issues affecting regional communities – housing, short-term rental accommodation, waste, dogs in public spaces, resilience, disaster recovery and local place-planning.
Our methods cover real-life, digital and hybrid approaches. This could be facilitating a one-day workshop with targeted stakeholders on a thorny topic, running Statewide sector consultation on proposed policy change or small-scale engagement at a local level.
Locale designed and facilitated a one-day workshop for Kempsey Shire Council to discuss boating improvements for Back Creek at South West Rocks. This involved councillors, Council staff, State government agencies, local community and business members coming together to work out possible solutions for safe navigation in the creek. With a high level of community and visitor use, having safe boating was a key priority.
Working with the Council recognised community group, the Berry Forum, Locale undertook community-led planning processes to develop a series of strategic priorities for presentation to the Council and to assist in creating unified community directions. The engagement included surveys and community led workshops, with strategies developed for the town centre, tourism, assets, sustainability and youth.
Locale designed and implemented an independent engagement process for the exhibition of this controversial planning proposal. Facing a housing crisis that has worsened over many years, Council sought to restrict the use of housing for short-term holiday letting. With a strong lobby and recognised industry impacts on one side and a frustrated community on the other, the project required careful and comprehensive engagement.
We have delivered whole of staff training on the Code of Conduct and dealing with difficult people for numerous councils. Our training is interactive and relevant, using case studies and real-life examples to engage with a wide range of participants from senior management, outdoor staff and volunteers.
Locale worked with Shoalhaven City Council’s Waste Services to undertake a series of focus groups to test and develop education and promotional materials. Waste management is a critical function of local government, but long gone are the days of simply disposing of waste to landfill. This project sought to ensure that Council’s cutting-edge technology and its circular economy objectives meet the needs of the community.
Working with Crown Lands newly formed tourism unit, Locale designed and implemented a statewide engagement process for Crown land managers that operate caravan parks. From local to state government, to volunteer showgrounds and large scale private enterprise, we explored the full range of park scale and operational capability. The project involved one-to-one interviews, online surveys and workshops across five regional centres.
With Council staff delivery of this project facing targeted opposition, Locale was engaged to design and facilitate a series of consultation events to gain a clear and independent view of the situation. This included a one-day workshop with Councillors, Council staff and sporting groups from local groups to State Sporting Organisation (SSO’s) about the proposed site options and future selection process.
Locale was engaged to help property owners who were impacted by the 2019/2020 bushfires in the Shoalhaven region. These property owners had not rebuilt after the bushfires. We worked collaboratively with Shoalhaven City Council and the Rural Fire Service to understand the context and common challenges in rebuilding. We then provided tailored support and advice to property owners so they could progress in rebuilding their homes.
Locale designed and facilitated two community workshops on the refresh of the Byron Shire Community Strategic Plan and a two-day programme with councillors on the new Delivery Program. The workshops involved deep engagement with community members on the vision for the Shire and explored the relevance of the existing objectives and strategies in the CSP. We worked closely with Council staff to collaborate on the project.
Locale designed and facilitated four focus group sessions for Coffs Harbour City Council on the refresh of the My Coffs Community Strategic Plan. The focus groups explored the current themes in the CSP and whether these remained relevant to the community over the next 10 years. We worked closely with Council staff to collaborate on the project.
Following the 2019/2020 bushfires, Locale was engaged by Lismore City Council to deliver community-led and place based resilience plans in collaboration with the Nimbin and Channon communities. We co-designed the engagement, facilitated the engagement activities, organised an education event with State agencies and prepared and launched the plans with each community.
We worked with eight villages within the Jervis Bay and St Georges Basin area to establish a community-led strategic plan across the area. The project was established through extensive community consultation designed by Locale and undertaken by the community. This has seen a series of strategic priorities established for presentation to Council and to assist in creating a united direction for the various individual communities.
As part of our engagement for this broader flood recovery and future planning project, Locale developed an engagement kit to facilitate ‘at home’ engagement. The design and subsequent promotion of the ‘kitchen table conversation kit’ were aimed at getting affected communities to meet with each other and talk about the issues. The aim was to tap into grassroots conversations and initiatives.
Reclassification of public land can be a controversial decision. We are highly experienced in acting as an independent chair of public hearings that propose the reclassification of public land in a range of different circumstances and specifically when there is a high degree of community interest and opposition. We have chaired hearings for Kiama, Nambucca, Byron, Shoalhaven and Clarence councils.
When there is an impasse or sudden change in our communities, dialogue can be difficult. We are adept at assisting councils to step back and work with communities to understand and overcome difficult issues. The closure of Congo Road north was one such occasion. With commitments in place and an active community seeking answers, we facilitated an open and respectful workshop process to bring the process back on track.
“I wanted to reach out and congratulate you on an excellent community consultation process last week. I think it did a lot to restore faith in Council and rebuild a positive and collaborative relationship with the community where I have lived for the last 15 years.”
“Thank you for your excellent facilitation! I thought the sessions went really well, you did a great job at keeping everyone on track and eliciting meaningful discussion.”
“I have had a substantial amount of positive feedback from your staff sessions, I don’t usually get this – so wanted you to know that your training was enjoyed and appreciated!”