Community Engagement - What is it?

Currently, community engagement is a commonly used phrase at every level of government and also within community organisations.  However, the meaning of "community engagement" is informed by many different perspectives and is therefore applied to a variety of different practices, some of which are more helpful than others. 

What is Community engagement?
Author: Queensland Government

Community engagement refers to the connections between governments, citizens and communities on a range of policy, program and service issues. It encompasses a wide variety of government–community interactions ranging from information sharing to community consultation and, in some instances, active participation in government decision making processes. Engagement can be formal or informal, direct or indirect. Effective community engagement allows government to tap into diverse perspectives and potential solutions to improve the quality of its decisions.

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What is community engagement?
Author: Graeme Stuart

There is no widely accepted definition of community engagement and the meaning can vary in different contexts. In this 2011 article, Graeme Stuart from the Family Action Centre at the University of Newcastle examines a number of definitions from different contexts and asserts community engagement should actively involve the community in decisions and activities that affect them.

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What is community engagement, exactly?
Author: Dr Crispin Butteriss Hello from Bang The Table

There is no simple or single answer to the question, “what is community engagement?” It defies definition because everyone, it seems, has a different answer! So, who gets to decide?  In this post Dr Butteriss Hello explores the issue from the perspective of several different disciplines in an attempt to come up with a unified, inclusive, definition that allows all of the professions to “own” community engagement collectively.

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