The Costs and Benefits of Community Engagement by Local Government
It has been argued by governments in the UK, Australia and Sweden that modern society will only reach its potential when citizens individually and collectively are able to use their knowledge and capacity to shape their lives and communities. Local government is advocated as an ideal setting for operationalising community engagement so that citizens can influence decision-making about matters that are of direct concern to them, and invoke relevant bottom up forces for accountability. This paper examines the international rhetoric around community engagement by local government, and uses case studies of Swedish experience to examine the nature, costs and benefits as perceived by corporate services and operational managers. Impacts on the measurement of objectives and activities, target setting, accountabilities, decision-making and organisational learning are discussed.
Keywords: Community Engagement, Local Government, Performance Management, Sweden
Dr. Peter Demediuk
Course Director - Finance, School of Accounting & Finance, Victoria University