There is an increasing expectation for Australian local governments to engage meaningfully with their communities around a variety of issues.  These expectations come from communities themselves, councillors, staff and increasing legislative requirements.

As a result ‘community engagement’ (also known as public consultation) practice is professionalising. Councils are developing policies and procedures, learning how best to engage their communities (often through trial and error) and some councils even have dedicated community engagement staff and teams.

My research is investigating this phenomenon of community engagement practice and professionalisation in Australian local governments.


Australian Local Government Community Engagement Practice

Christensen, H.E. (2018) ‘Legislating community engagement at the Australian local government level’, Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, issue 21, article ID 6515. Available from: Publisher’s Site

Christensen, H.E. & McQuestin, D. (2018) ‘Community engagement in Australian local governments: a closer look and strategic implications’, Local Government Studies, 45 (4). Available from: Publisher’s Site. 

Participatory Budgeting

Christensen, H.E. & Grant, B.J. (2016) ‘Participatory Budgeting in Australian Local Government: An Initial Assessment and Critical Issues’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 75, no. 4, pp. 457-475. Available from: Publisher’s Site

Austaxpolicy asked us to write a short blog based on this article, the details are:

Christensen,  Helen  &  Grant,  Bligh,  (2017),  Participatory Budgeting: The Next ‘Big Thing’ in Australian Local Government?,  Austaxpolicy: Tax and Transfer Policy Blog,  2 February 2017, Available from:

Professional Ethics

Christensen, H.E. (2018) ‘Community Engagement and Professionalization: Emerging Tensions’, Research in Ethical Issues in Organisations, 20: 117-133. Available from: Publisher’s Site

Book Review

Christensen, Helen E. (2018) ‘Review of The Professionalization of Public Participation edited by Laurence Bherer, Mario Gauthier, and Louis Simard (New York: Routledge, 2017),’ Journal of Public Deliberation, vol. 14, no. 1, article 11. Available from: Publisher’s Site