On this page:
- Step 1: Before you begin
- Step 2: Planning your consultation
- Step 3: Getting your consultation on Engage Victoria
- 1. Finalise the use of Engage Victoria for your project
- 2. Conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment
- 3. Complete the Consultation Strategy Template
- 4. Engage Victoria training
- 5. Design your page and finalise your content
- Planning your communications
- What standards must be met?
- Step 4: Closing a consultation
- 1. Updating the public
- 2. Evaluating your project
- 3. Reporting back
- Step 5: Completion of consultation
- Help and Support
This guide is designed to help you with completing key steps to create and manage your public consultations on Engage Victoria, the Victorian Government’s platform for digital public engagement.
Step 1: Before you begin
Public engagement is a planned process to support decision making. It encourages people to get involved in decisions that are of interest to them. It comprises a range of activities including workshops, co-design and phone surveys. The Public Engagement Framework 2021-2025 is the framework governing public engagement practices in the Victorian Government.
Digital public engagement is a form of public engagement that uses digital tools to collect public feedback. The tools and techniques used to deliver consultations vary depending on the project aims.
Launched in 2016, Engage Victoria is the Victorian Government's centralised digital engagement platform. This service is provided by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. It hosts public consultations from all Victorian Public Sector departments and agencies, giving the public a way to engage with the government easily.
The platform provides a range of tools to enable the community to participate in the development of government policies and programs and share their ideas and opinions on a range of issues and topics relevant to Victorians.
Engage Victoria is designed to be used by the Victorian Public Service (VPS) for consultation on policy or projects where there is a meaningful opportunity for the public to influence and shape outcomes through providing feedback.
It is a flexible and adaptable system providing a range of tools to support diverse projects. These tools include surveys, discussion forums for two-way dialogue and participatory mapping.
Engage Victoria can allow for participant anonymity where needed, making it suitable for targeted stakeholder consultations as well.
All projects are expected to adhere to the standards set by the Public Engagement Framework 2021-2025, as well as privacy, accessibility, security, branding and online record management digital standards.
It is important to note that like all public engagement activities, digital consultations can create barriers for some participants. As such, your Engage Victoria approach should be used in conjunction with other public engagement techniques, including face-to-face engagement.
Engage Victoria provides for a consistent public engagement processes across departments and agencies, offering an improved user experience to the Victorian public. It is a flexible system as participants have the freedom to provide feedback on their own terms and in their own time.
As a digital platform, it is accessible to most Victorians. When designed and executed effectively, Engage Victoria can provide your consultation with significant reach. Targeted outreach is also made possible as you can promote your consultation directly to people who have already registered their interest in certain topics.
Step 2: Planning your consultation
The following strategy template is required to be completed when planning your digital public consultation on Engage Victoria. Please note that you will need to submit this document for review by the Engage Victoria team before you begin your consultation and for any subsequent stages of the consultation.
You will also be provided with access to the Engage Victoria Online Platform User Guide once your strategy is approved and a user account created.
Step 3: Getting your consultation on Engage Victoria
The procedure for getting your consultation on Engage Victoria contains a few steps.
1. Finalise the use of Engage Victoria for your project
Seek approval from your communications department and your department’s nominated Engage Victoria Engagement Manager. You may also need your manager to approve the consultation. We recommend obtaining written approval via email. Please contact us if need help connecting with your Engagement Manager, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment
Consult your privacy or legal team for your Privacy Impact Assessment.
3. Complete the Consultation Strategy Template
Send your completed strategy template to your Engagement Manager for review. They will then forward the template to the Engage Victoria team for final review and approval. You will not need to complete Section 1 or 3 of the template if you have already drafted an engagement and communications plan. Instead, you can submit this plan as a supporting document to the template. Please allow up to 1 week for review.
You can refer to Public Engagement Framework’s Principles of Public Engagement and How-to Guide to guide you in designing a public consultation project. The Consultation Strategy Template has been made available in Step 2 of this guide.
4. Engage Victoria training
Upon approval, you will be invited to an Engage Victoria virtual training session (1 hour). At this session, you will be shown how to build your page, including content, feedback forms and accessing the reporting dashboard.
5. Design your page and finalise your content
Once you have done this, seek approval for your page from your Engagement Manager and the Engage Victoria team before it is published. Please allow 3 business days for review. Upon approval, your page will be published and made available to the public by the Engage Victoria team.
Planning your communications
Ensure that you have a strong communications plan. This includes promoting your consultation page in preparation for its launch and post-launch. Keep monitoring whether you are reaching out to groups you wish to engage with. You may also have to adapt your communications plan if your target group(s) are not being reached.
What standards must be met?
Comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Refer to secure your service - digital guide, and the security framework and standards on the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.
Comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014, and only collect information you’re legally entitled to collect. If you are collecting personal information, you will need to submit a privacy impact assessment and publish a privacy collection notice (refer to protect privacy - digital guide or the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner ).
Apply Brand Victoria. Refer to apply Brand Victoria - digital guide (specifically written for digital).
To comply with the federal Disability Discrimination Act and Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act , your online consultation must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2.0 AA standard.
If your audience is primarily people with a disability (for example, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) clients), your site must pass the test for the AAA standard. Refer to make content accessible - digital guide.
Manage public records
The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) (under Section of the Public Records Act 1973) sets the standards for managing the public records your department or agency creates. Always check with your department’s or agency’s records or information management specialist first for the approach to compliance.
Refer to manage online records - digital guide for more information or the PROV .
Step 4: Closing a consultation
1. Updating the public
At the end of the consultation period, close and update your consultation page with a thank you message outlining next steps.
2. Evaluating your project
Undertake data coding and analysis to identify who you have heard from, and the key messages, themes and topics that have come out of the public feedback. You can also refer to the Public Engagement Framework’s Evaluation Framework when assessing the success of your project.
3. Reporting back
Good public consultation projects are transparent in their objectives and findings. Keep your stakeholders updated on key engagement outcomes and next steps. If you think it could take longer than 12 weeks to report back, consider sharing participant numbers and general demographic information on your respondents, as well as a note on when you expect an engagement report to be available.
If you are unable to provide a feedback report due to project sensitivities, you should still describe how the information will be used and share the next steps to close the loop with participants.
Step 5: Completion of consultation
At project close-out, remember to change the status of your project on Engage Victoria to ‘Reporting back’.
The Engage Victoria team will work with you to:
- Undertake a 'lessons learnt’ evaluation to help us reflect and continuously improve on our processes (within 8 weeks of your project closing). We encourage you to incorporate any departmental or agency evaluation processes into your evaluation.
- Develop a case study to share your project and lessons learnt with other project teams.
Help and Support
For best practice advice and support, email the Engage Victoria team in the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) at email@example.com
You can also look at our resources in the Public Engagement Hub for information on creating a good public engagement project.
Reviewed 06 September 2022