Mass exodus by community staff

The City of Melbourne’s placemaking and engagement branch, which focuses on strengthening our local community, has recently been the subject of major staff losses.  

The upheaval resulted from a council review of the branch in early 2016. Placemaking and engagement staff were informed of the findings in September.

CBD News understands that out of the branch’s 15 staff, 11 were offered redundancies or redeployment. Of these, 10 accepted redundancy, while one took on another role within the branch.  However, a council spokesperson said the number of affected staff was eight and not 11.

CBD News also understands that other staff members have since left the City of Melbourne or relocated to other branches.

The Placemaking and Engagement branch was changed from Community Strengthening in July 2015. This was the result of the result of an amalgamation of three teams within the branch.

Council’s spokesperson said the review was undertaken in consultation with staff to determine a new purpose and focus for the branch.

“We took a closer look at the way they (staff) operated to determine a new purpose and focus that would increase council’s capacity for city-wide and neighbourhood engagement on a broader range of matters,” the spokesperson said.

“This process benchmarked the branch against placemaking and community engagement in other government jurisdictions.”

According to the spokesperson, the new branch will comprise 15 positions, with the majority of staff already appointed and due to start work in February.

The spokesperson said the council would also employ five community engagement partners, with one of the five to be appointed to the CBD and Docklands area next month.

“We will employ five community engagement partners, whose roles include understanding community needs and expectations, and empowering the community to influence council decisions,” the spokesperson said.

“We also plan to build our online portal, Participate Melbourne, to provide communities with more integrated information from government and enable them to engage more deeply with each other.”

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