Frankston City 2040

Communication Panel Report
May 2021

“It was a very positive and engaging experience. It was particularly rewarding to see the delight with which panel member, a migrant for whom English is not her first language - engaged in the process."

~ Panel Member

The Project

Conversation Co was engaged by the City of Frankston Council to design and deliver an engagement program to inform the development of its Community Vision 2040 and Council Plan.

A virtual approach was used for all elements of this project, including planning, project management, recruitment of participants, and all engagement activities.

This approach was supported with a blend of traditional and technology based engagement methods designed to reach a diverse community with varying digital literacy.

Traditional remote methods included telephone interviews, printed surveys, and the option to send a direct email or letter to the project team.

Virtual remote methods included a series of zoom workshops hosting between 10 and 70 participants, a virtual ideas wall with voting and an online survey. Social media, including use of live streamed video and interactive posts, featured in the communications strategy during the COVID-19 stay at home orders.

Challenges

  • Attracting community interest in an aspirational future-focused project during a time of immediate crisis and hardship.
  • The digital recruitment and onboarding of participants.
  • Providing technical support for participants who were using online video conferencing for the first time. 
  • Designing a range of methods to encourage participation from those in the community with lower digital literacy skills.

Keys to success

  • Asking meaningful questions – elevating the thinking beyond daily discomforts, and inviting individuals to consider what would make a difference in their lives, the lives of their family or neighbours.
  • A communications strategy featuring popular social media channels, direct mail and telephone outreach.
  • Developing digital collateral to empower community leaders to promote the project.
  • Providing pre-workshop technical support and ‘learn to zoom’ sessions.
  • Weekly virtual check-ins with the project team to report on progress and discuss priorities.

Outcomes

  • Stage one received 1293 contributions across digital and other remote methods.
  • Successful management of a large interactive digital workshop with around 70 stakeholders and 3 smaller workshops of around 10 stakeholders each.
  • Produced a variety of collateral to support the project including slide decks, social media copy, questionnaires, discussion guides, SMS reminders and landing page copy.
  • Facebook livestream reached over 2800 people, and posts from the Conversation Caravan Facebook account reached about 9200 people.
  • Engagement data gathered from a broad cross section of a diverse community including representation from people with less confidence in engaging digitally.

Reflections and Key Learnings

  • The benefit to keeping people engaged in the project despite barriers such as disability or literacy levels is huge. Investing the time to provide materials in written form as well as videos allowed people to feel informed and comfortable to participate.
  • The use of personas enabled the panel members to consider the needs of other community members when they were developing the community vision. At various stages throughout the meetings, panel members were able to reflect on the viewpoints of the persona and incorporate their needs into the conversation.

Making a difference

Here at Conversation Co, we like to make a difference. We measure how many businesses we support in the local economy, the number of voices heard and the number of staff we believe we supported and fostered a community engagement approach.

Here are the stats for this project:

  • Voices: Over 850 voices heard (people spoken to) including 46 panel members
  • Staff: Five staff supported (number of clients)

Quotes

Quotes from people when asked – What is your wish for what the Frankston area and community will be like in 2040?

“I wish for Frankston to be fully inclusive of all races, ages and abilities and that we can take climate action together.”

“The main city centre of Frankston will be revitalised. It will be a beautiful, safe, inclusive social hub where all people will want to come and enjoy hospitality and a great community atmosphere. The city centre will feel safe and inclusive for all.”

“A sustainable environment that encourages healthy lifestyles and reduces its carbon footprint to lessen climate change.”

Panel Member Quote about their involvement

“Really loved the fact that the meetings were conducted through video conferencing. I work full time and work very long hours so not having to commute to another location made the process much easier for me. I applaud the leads from Frankston City and Conversation Caravan, who demonstrated a high level of competence in planning and executing the process.”

“It was a very positive and engaging experience. It was particularly rewarding to see the delight with which panel member, a migrant for whom English is not her first language – engaged in the process. She struggled with the technology and received technical support and, in the final meeting, charmingly described herself as a “tech nerd.”