The language and practice of place-based and community-led change

The language and practice of place-based and community-led change

3. Creating a Shared Vision

The language and practice of place-based and community-led change in Australia: Building a shared understanding

Collective Impact and community-led approaches have been increasingly adopted and applied by Australian governments recently, reflecting a desire to engage and work with the public differently. The uptake of these approaches signals a paradigm shift from government “doing policy and programs for, or to, people” towards partnering with, enabling and empowering communities. The Albanese Government’s recently announced Australian Public Service (APS) reform agenda, which builds on the Thodey Review, aims, among other things, to reshape the relationship of the APS to communities and others.

Collective Impact principles grew out of a recognition and evidence in North America that collaboration is necessary to resolve complex problems that span sectors or require a fundamental shift in thinking and underlying structures. It is noted that many First Nations people say these approaches reflect how they have worked for thousands of years. Proponents state that only by working together and considering all perspectives, and the system, can transformation occur.

The argument for community-led approaches is that those with lived experience of disadvantage are best placed to determine new ways of approaching those challenges. That the answers to complex challenges will not be found or written in Canberra or capital cities, the answers are in each community (and will require collective effort to shift).  It also seeks to empower and amplify voices that have not historically been heard, particularly First Nations voices. A key explanation for this approach is that policy, programs or reform initiatives that don’t consider the perspectives or understand the context and needs of those they are intended to support, will be less effective.

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