Regional government is setting up its Civic reference panel - looking for public input on future direction.

Regional Flag with Canada flagBy Pepper Parr

December 9, 2104



Marketing organizations and local governments want to know what you think.

In the case of the marketing types – we know their game – they want to sell us something.

With local government – the game isn`t the same. As far as they are concerned – you are already a customer and you aren`t going to the competition – because there isn`t any.

Regional aerial

Regional government offices at one end of the complex, Regional police at the other end.

Halton Region creates a panel of 36 people each year and runs a series of questions by the panel,

The Regional government holds a “civic lottery” Lottery to find 36 local residents to form a Citizens’ Reference Panel. Invitations to form the panel were mailed to residents across the Region last week. Panel members will help determine which issues, services and programs matter most to the people who live and work in Halton.

Their insights, along with input from the broader community, will help the newly elected Regional Council develop a strategic work plan and set out priorities for the next four-year term.

Calling the Regional Council now in place “newly elected” is true but a bit of a stretch – of the 21 members of Regional Council only three are new to that level of government.

Same people – they will probably arrive at the same conclusions.

Regional Carr explains how the panel works. “Every four years Council works in consultation with stakeholders to gather feedback on the areas that matter most to Halton residents and businesses.

“Members of the Citizens’ Reference Panel have a unique opportunity to hear directly from Halton staff and local experts. Armed with a solid understanding of Regional services and processes, Panelists play an invaluable role in helping to shape the future of Halton Region.”

A Civic Lottery uses random selection to bring together groups of residents, balanced for age, gender and geographical location, to represent their community. Last week 10,000 letters were delivered to randomly selected households in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton and the Town of Oakville. Eligible candidates who receive the invitation can put their name forward for the Civic Lottery. The invitation can also be transferred to other members of the household. The 36 Panelists will be randomly drawn from among the respondents on January 8, 2015. The deadline for eligible candidates to enter the Civic Lottery is January 7, 2015.

As part of this process, the Region has prepared a draft Strategic Action Plan to serve as a starting point. The Panel will meet over two full Saturdays on January 17 and January 31. The Panel will also meet on the evening of Wednesday, January 21 for a special Public Roundtable Meeting to which all Halton residents are invited.

Together, the Panelists will learn about the trends and pressures facing Halton Region as well as the services and programs the Regional government provides. As part of this process, the Region has prepared a draft Strategic Action Plan to serve as a starting point. The draft document will guide the discussion and assist in the development of specific, measurable actions that can be implemented over the next four years.

At the end of the process, working with expert facilitators, the Panelists will develop a series of informed recommendations to present to Regional Council.

Burlington uses a different approach – they put a survey on line and ask people to tell them what they like and don’t like in terms of the services the city provides for the tax money they pay.

Related article:

Burlington community survey

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