Helping ensure that the social impact of its decisions are taken into account is the objective of a draft Social Policy that council is currently seeking public feedback on.
The draft Social Policy that is open for consultation until 25 August will require council to assess how the decisions it makes may flow through and affect the community in a broad social sense.
Group Manager Community Services Pauline Welch said that the overall objective is to help council make better decisions, and just as importantly, help avoid making decisions with unintended consequences that might result in any of our communities being worse off in total.
“The adoption of a Social Policy does not mean that council is stepping into the social agency space and seeking to intrude in any way on the role of central government and other agencies who have specific responsibilities in these areas,” she said.
“The government’s 2012 Better Local Government reforms saw the legislated mandate for councils to focus on improving the social, cultural, environmental and economic well-beings removed from the Local Government Act (LGA).”
“Since then however, council has received a steady stream of submissions that show that our communities still have an expectation that we have a role in this space.”
“The draft Social Policy meets the requirement of the current LGA for councils to take a ‘sustainable development approach’ that ‘takes into account the social, economic and cultural interests of people and communities’ and ‘the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations’.”
“It has been developed to help keep the resilience of our communities and the social impacts of council decisions ‘top of mind’ when we are drafting reports, strategies, policies, bylaws and other documents.”
Ms. Welch said that determining the possible social impact of any individual council decision is not as simple as it might first seem.
“Council decisions are only one part of a very complex set of interactions that impacts on peoples day to day lives.”
“The draft Social Policy proposes a framework for assessing the social impact of council decisions.”
“We would be very interested in hearing from people on what they think of the proposed approach,” she said.
“A copy of the draft Social Policy can be picked-up from any council office or via https://goo.gl/tGtMQV
“Submissions need to be with council by 5.00pm on Friday 25 August.”