It is that time of the year when many local governments begin consulting around Budgets and Council Plans. We see many such projects published across EHQ and one of them comes from the team at City of Casey. We think they have done a wonderful job with it.
Site: Casey Conversation
Publish Date: 19 May 2015
Topic: Council Budget
Tools: Forum, Newsfeed, Surveys & Forms
Widgets: Sign up Banner, FAQ, Photo Gallery, Document Library
What we like:
- Video in project description: This project has a hero and it is right in the centre of everything; where a hero is supposed to be. We are of course talking about the video in the project description that explains the budget in plain English, with a funky touch to it. By nature budgets can be quite complex and inaccessible to great parts of the community. With the video the team at Casey have done a lot to make the topic as accessible as possible.
- Completeness: The project overall feels very complete. There are two areas for participants to leave feedback. The survey is for formal submissions, the forum is for general feedback and discussions. The widgets are populated, all documents are available in reasonable sizes and the FAQs are easy to understand. It is evident that time was invested to make this consultation work well.
Although there is one thing that we think should have been added. More below.
- Link from council site: The majority of our local government clients maintain two sites. A council site, where general information is hosted, and an EHQ site where the community has the chance to get involved. City of Casey are no exception. But have a look at www.casey.vic.gov.au how the team links through to their EHQ very prominently in the top. Too often we see that the council site and the EHQ site are not cross-linked obvious enough.
- Breakdown of budget by area: City of Casey have found a neat way to use the News Feed to break down the budget into their different wards and outline how each area might benefit from the budget. It also emphasizes the councillors in each ward, including their contact information. We haven't seen this anywhere before.
- Project Banner: One of the most colourful banners we have seen in a while...and this is for a budget consultation. We like it.
For further consideration:
Budget Allocator: This, and any other budget project, just calls for a combined use of EHQ and our Budget Allocator. Although the team at Casey have done a great job making their budget plans as accessible as possible, using BA in addition would have further increased the community's participation in the budgeting process.
- Project name: The project name is just that little bit long and bulky. The permalink of this project is beautfiully short and to the point (/budget). Maybe the project could have had a similar simple title.
OVERALL: Budget consultations can be tricky due to their complexity and there will be lots of community members who will have never seen a council budget before. City of Casey have done a lot to make it as accessible as possible to everybody.
NOTE: The above is based on a visit to the site on 22 May 2015. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.