What do we mean by the following terms?
By ‘government’ we mean us - the Victorian Government.
By ‘community’ we mean local people and organisations that live, work or operate in a place. This can include local people, businesses, service providers, associations, etc.
By ‘place’ we mean a geographical area that is meaningfully defined for our work.
For broader work in place, such as regional development work, a place might be a departmental region or a larger area where economic, social or ecological trends interact and play out.
For more localised initiatives, a place might be a local government area, a suburb or an area that crosses these types of administrative boundaries but where locals feel connected to or affected by what happens there.
Places and boundaries recognised by Aboriginal Victorians and Aboriginal Traditional Owners may differ from those recognised by non-Aboriginal Victorians and may cross accepted non-Aboriginal boundaries, including state boundaries.
Often, place is best defined in collaboration with local people to ensure it is a geographical area that is meaningful to them on a social, economic or environmental level.
By ‘power’ we mean the ability to control or influence, or be accountable for, decisions and actions that effect an outcome throughout the design, implementation and evaluation of programs or initiatives.
The systems and structures that produce or reinforce power are complex and shifting these is difficult.
Sharing decision-making control, influence and accountability?
We, as government, can share control, influence and accountability with community by partnering in decision-making with local people and organisations. This can happen, for example, through:
- collaboratively defining outcomes and objectives
- active participation in governance groups
- flexible funding that allows for local decision-making
- control over design and ongoing implementation
- designing evaluations and the process for incorporating learning
When we share or devolve control to community, we should be clear about our tolerance for risk and supporting accountability
‘Place-focused approaches’ tailor government services, infrastructure and investment to ensure they are meeting local needs.
They involve listening to community to understand how we can meet their needs and keeping them informed throughout design, implementation or evaluation.
'Place-based approaches' target the specific circumstances of a place and engage local people from different sectors as active participants in development and implementation.
They can happen without government, but, when we are involved, they require us to share decision-making with community to work collaboratively towards shared outcomes.
Reviewed 14 March 2023