advisory committees


INVOLVING COMMUNITY IN DECISION MAKING

A new approach to advisory committees and similar structures. 

Advisory Committees are one of the most common techniques for engagement and often the most unsatisfactory for both the organisation and the community representatives.

The MosaicLab team helps governments and private organisations by facilitating long term advisory committees (reference groups) that enable community (and sometimes industry) representatives to work through complex issues with decision makers.

Examples of advisory committees facilitated by MosaicLab include:

  • The Inner West VicRoads Group
  • The Clayton and Dingley Waste Forum

We also facilitate advisory committees set up for shorter term projects and conduct inception workshops for newly established committees.

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IMAGE: Community leaders, local council, waste industry and regulators meet to plan a forum at Clayton and Dingley.



Working examples of these forums can be found at: claytondingleywf.net.au and brooklynip.com.au

IMAGE: Primary and secondary representatives from 7 schools put their views on waste management to local community, business and regulator representatives.


While the format, content and participation varies widely across these groups, MosaicLab facilitators have found that the following practices increase the success of advisory committees: 

  • Not selecting participants using an expression of interest process - other selection methods are random selection and appointment of people to match a stakeholder analysis for the project.
  • Decision makers participate and are very clear about what matters can be influenced by the advisory committee and how its input will be used in decisions being made on the topic or project.
  • Discussions are expertly facilitated and enhanced through agreed guidelines that ensure openness, listening, and airing of diverse opinions - we are seeking to build trust and respect between all participants.
  • Discussion is informed through the provision of timely, open information
  • Political statements or influence over the groups’ deliberations are not allowed
  • Prior failures are discussed openly so as to inform future decisions and processes
  • Agendas are flexible and based on community needs and interests