Only 35% of Australians feel their voices are being heard by their local councils, even though over half consider themselves engaged with their local councils.

So what’s the missing link? Digital channels could play a big part in bridging the gaps and giving people an opportunity to communicate with their local council and feel heard.

Datacom commissioned a survey this year looking at levels of engagement with local councils across Australia and it showed demand for accessible digital communication channels is high.

Of the 2000 Australia homeowners who were surveyed, 57% reported they would be more inclined to engage with council issues if they could do it digitally and 67% of respondents said they would use an app if it was available.

Aboriginal couple and technology

Datacom’s expert local government team, who work with 117 councils across Australia, have now developed an ebook 'Elevating digital engagement for local government across Australia' that explores key drivers of digital transformation for councils, how to meet growing expectations for digital service delivery and how to build trust with the right security and privacy policies and practices.

“The survey results showed positive levels of engagement between local councils and the Australian communities they are serving. The notable gap is the ability for people to share and receive information from their council in a more immediate way, and for this to be a two-way channel that enables feedback,” says Peter Nelson, Datacom Director of Local Government and MD SaaS Products.

“The good news is that small changes can make a big difference in whether people feel they are being listened to and we want to share some of the insights we’ve gained from working closely with councils and seeing what works for their communities and stakeholders.”

In the ebook the team shares tips for transforming communication and engagement – and while many of the solutions centre on smart digital channels, the common thread is developing a responsive and proactive approach to sharing information and answering questions.

Five tips for transforming communication and engagement

Leverage unified digital channels

To create a consistent view of every interaction, councils must adopt unified digital channels for communication. By integrating each channel into a cohesive cloud-enabled system that contributes to the single view of customer, councils can avoid potential miscommunication issues.

Provide two-way channels accessible 24/7

Local councils need to embrace the power of two-way communication, allowing community members to provide feedback, voice concerns, and share ideas at their convenience. Offering accessible 24/7 channels, such as online feedback forms and mobile apps, empowers residents and fosters a culture of openness and transparency.

A family looking at computer screens

Introduce a mobile app

A well-designed app enables residents to access important information, receive real-time updates, and engage with council services on the go. From reminders about rubbish collection schedules to submitting service requests, an intuitive mobile app simplifies community interactions.

Utilise social media to disseminate information

Social media is a powerful tool to connect with the community. Whether it’s announcing events, sharing updates on services, or promoting community initiatives, social media platforms offer a dynamic space to build a stronger sense of community.

Manage and triage negative sentiment on social media

Responding promptly, showing empathy, and directing individuals to appropriate channels for issue resolution are crucial steps to maintain a positive reputation and build trust with the community.

Download a free copy of our ebook,Elevating digital engagement for local government across Australia'.

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