Civic Participation Kit

A guide to help decision makers involve diverse communities in decisions that affect them.

Download the Civic Participation Kit:

VMC Civic Participation Kit
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What is civic participation?

Civic participation is about involving the people affected by a decision in the decision-making process. It includes activities such as:

  • consultation
  • information sessions
  • communication
  • education forums
  • public participation
  • working in partnership

Why is civic participation important?

We know that inadequate consultation - not including a diversity of views - results in poor-quality decisions, increased financial costs and undermines public trust. Involving diverse community members gives a varied range of viewpoints and interests that together help to inform and improve formal decision making.

The more involved and engaged the community is in planning, program or policy issues, the more aware the community becomes of the constraints, options, and drivers for change, and hopefully the more satisfied they are with the engagement process and the outcomes achieved.

ACT Government 2011

Who is this guide for?

The guide is designed to encourage civic participation. It's for civic decision makers, including councillors, executive and senior officers. We hope individuals and community groups will also find it useful. We want to encourage engagement with and by multicultural community members.

How will this guide help me to develop a plan for inclusive civic participation?

Migrants can face multiple barriers in accessing opportunities for civic engagement: socioeconomic, cultural and political. Newly arrived migrants may still be negotiating settlement but this does not mean they are not interested in the decisions shaping their new neighbourhoods.

The most common barriers they face are language, reduced access to social networks, lack of representation, discrimination and xenophobia.

We hope you will use the tools in this resource to:

  • promote an inclusive culture of community engagement in decision making
  • involve multicultural communities
  • support civic understanding in these communities
  • consider the lived experiences of residents when planning for local communities 
  • facilitate constructive dialogue between decision makers and the communities they serve

How can I find out more about civic engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse communities?

While this guide provides an overview of inclusive civic engagement, there are some situations where a deeper understanding is required. For example, you might need to engage closely with particular communities where a deeper knowledge is needed.

If you need to understand more about engaging with diverse communities, we encourage you to seek further information and training.

Contact the Victorian Multicultural Commission by email: