Unit of competency details

PSPCOM502A - Develop and implement community engagement strategies (Release 3)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
3 (this release)Current 01/Nov/2012
(View details for release 2) Replaced07/Mar/2012
(View details for release 1) Replaced05/May/2009

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to PSPGEN074 - Develop and implement community engagement strategiesUnit code updated. Content and formatting updated to comply with the new standards. All PC transitioned from passive to active voice. Assessment Requirements created drawing upon specified assessment information from superseded unit. 06/Mar/2016

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090599 Human Welfare Studies And Services, N.e.c.  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 090599 Human Welfare Studies And Services, N.e.c.  24/May/2005 
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Modification History


TP Version 




Unit descriptor edited.



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Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the design and implementation of effective activities or programs that involve the community in government policy development, planning and decision making processes. It includes issue analysis, scoping, designing, implementing, reporting and evaluating on community engagement activities or programs.

In practice, community engagement overlaps with other generalist or specialist work activities such as acting ethically, providing leadership, developing client services, developing policy, undertaking research, facilitating change, etc.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication

Application of the Unit

Not applicable.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements are the essential outcomes of the unit of competency.

Together, performance criteria specify the requirements for competent performance. Text in bold italics  is explained in the Range Statement following.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 . Conduct an issue analysis 

1.1 A framework is developed to assist in analysing an issue that requires community engagement.

1.2 Key stakeholders  are identified and consulted in accordance with organisational policy and procedures.

1.3 The framework is used to conduct the analysis, and community engagement options  are identified in accordance with organisational requirements.

2 . Scope community engagement activity or program 

2.1 Parameters and constraints of community engagement are identified, including time and resource limitations.

2.2 The purpose and objectives of community engagement are established in consultation with key stakeholders, including what is negotiable, and what is not is clarified with relevant personnel.

2.3 Objectives are developed that are relevant, achievable, measurable, flexible enough to allow for the emergence of new options or ideas and linked to program/project objectives.

2.4 The target community is defined in accordance with the purpose, objectives and scope of activity.

2.5 The level of community engagement, methods and techniques  are determined to suit the purpose, objectives, target community and scope of activity.

2.6 Likely barriers  to community engagement involvement and strategies to address them are identified.

3 . Design community engagement activity or program 

3.1 Opportunities are identified and used, where possible, to involve the community in the design of the engagement activity or program and its evaluation.

3.2 Benefits for community involvement in the engagement process are identified, both for the organisation and the community.

3.3 Relevant government/agency guidelines, protocols, systems and processes are identified and applied.

3.4 Program is designed to address risks  and issues with appropriate mitigation measures and includes strategies to identify and include those missed in the community definition .

3.5 Communication, monitoring, reporting, feedback and evaluation processes are embedded in the activity or program.

3.6 Relevant commitment to/approval of the activity or program is obtained in accordance with organisational policy and procedures.

4 . Implement community engagement activity or program 

4.1 Resources and time are allocated to the implementation process, including a process manager/facilitator with the necessary capabilities, in accordance with the program design.

4.2 Implementation is coordinated across the agency and across government, where relevant.

4.3 The objectives and constraints of the engagement are communicated in a manner that is understood by all participants.

4.4 Clarity is established around the roles and responsibilities of all participants and the level of influence of the participants on the final decision.

4.5 The expectations of participants are identified and managed and the community is provided with all relevant information throughout the engagement process.

4.6 Feedback mechanisms are implemented in accordance with the process plan, and community requirements and barriers to community engagement involvement are addressed to maximise participation.

4.7 Risks and issues are addressed with appropriate mitigation measures.

4.8 Community diversity  is acknowledged and respected throughout, and the process is transparent and managed in accordance with planned design.

4.9 The process is implemented flexibly enough to allow the community to raise new ideas or options and provide the community with opportunities to develop their engagement capacity.

5 . Report on the outcomes of community engagement 

5.1 Outcomes of community engagement are reported to relevant government/agency staff, all participants and those who may be affected or have a significant interest, in accordance with organisational policy and procedures.

5.2 Feedback on how the outcomes may inform government/agency planning or decision making is provided to all participants.

6 . Evaluate community engagement activity 

6.1 A good practice model is used to evaluate all components of the engagement activity or program in accordance with the design plan.

6.2 Feedback on the quality of the activity or program is obtained from participants.

6.3 The extent to which the engagement outcomes informed government/agency planning and decision making is analysed.

6.4 Achievements and lessons from the engagement activity or program are recorded, shared and used across the government/agency and with the community in accordance with organisational policy and procedures.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Skill requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

  • working with diverse communities using a range of communication styles to suit different audiences and purposes
  • managing expectations
  • explaining complex and formal policies and concepts to a variety of audiences
  • facilitating community engagement, including relationship building, networking, negotiation, conflict management and risk management
  • responding to diversity, including gender and disability
  • scoping, designing and implementing community engagement activities/programs including project management, time management and budget management
  • applying lateral thinking to provide solutions and overcome barriers to community engagement
  • evaluating community engagement activities/programs
  • applying workplace safety procedures to community engagement activities
  • detailing requirements, writing recommendations and preparing community engagement reports requiring complex language structures and precision of expression

Knowledge requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

  • legislation, regulations, policies, procedures and guidelines relating to community engagement
  • community engagement theory, principles, practices and techniques
  • public sector ethics and codes of conduct
  • facilitation/process management in the context of community engagement
  • principles of cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication
  • social justice principles
  • organisational policies related to communication and the media
  • equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles
  • workplace safety procedures relating to community engagement activities

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide specifies the evidence required to demonstrate achievement in the unit of competency as a whole. It must be read in conjunction with the Unit descriptor, Performance Criteria, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Public Sector Training Package.

Units to be assessed together 

  • Pre-requisite units that must  be achieved prior  to this unit:Nil
  • Co-requisite units that must  be assessed with  this unit:Nil
  • Co-assessed units that may  be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:
  • PSPCOM501A Prepare for community engagement
  • PSPCOM503A Build and maintain community relationships
  • PSPETHC501B Promote the values and ethos of public service
  • PSPGOV504B Undertake research and analysis
  • PSPGOV507A Undertake negotiations
  • PSPGOV508A Manage conflict
  • PSPGOV511A Provide leadership
  • PSPGOV512A Use complex workplace communication strategies
  • PSPGOV514A Facilitate change
  • PSPLEGN501B Promote compliance with legislation in the public sector
  • PSPOHS501A Monitor and maintain workplace safety

Overview of evidence requirements 

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

  • the knowledge requirements of this unit
  • the skill requirements of this unit
  • application of the Employability Skills as they relate to this unit (see table following for examples)
  • community engagement strategies developed and implemented in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Resources required to carry out assessment 

These resources include:

  • community information, case studies or scenarios, including current journals, international case studies
  • community engagement theory, principles, practices and techniques
  • procedures and protocols for community engagement, including occupational health and safety
  • policy and legislation related to community engagement
  • public sector values and codes of conduct

Where and how to assess evidence 

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

  • a workplace environment, or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when designing and implementing community engagement activities/programs, including coping with difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine
  • community engagement strategies developed and implemented in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

  • people with disabilities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women
  • young people
  • older people
  • people in rural and remote locations

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

  • case studies
  • portfolios
  • projects
  • questioning
  • scenarios
  • authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training courses

For consistency of assessment 

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The Range Statement provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. The variables cater for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. They allow for different work requirements, work practices and knowledge. The Range Statement also provides a focus for assessment. It relates to the unit as a whole. Text in bold italics  in the Performance Criteria is explained here.

Key stakeholders  may include:

  • all those who may be directly affected or may have a significant issue in the engagement process, including:
  • individuals
  • local residents
  • community leaders
  • community groups
  • ethnic communities
  • non-government organisations
  • public sector officers
  • private sector organisations/business community
  • other public sector agencies in all tiers of government
  • media organisations
  • elected public officials who may need to be briefed or provide approval throughout the process
  • public land committees of management

Options for engagement  may include:

  • alliances
  • partnerships
  • education and awareness campaigns
  • online consultation
  • deliberative processes
  • public meetings
  • consultation with stakeholders
  • response/s to questionnaires
  • media campaigns
  • community-based information
  • government announcements
  • correspondence with/to Members of Parliament
  • direct participation
  • scenario planning
  • think tanks

The level of community engagement  may include:

  • information - a one-way relationship in which government disseminates appropriate and relevant information to citizens
  • consultation - a two-way relationship in which government asks for and receives the views of individuals or communities on issues that affect them directly or in which they may have a significant interest
  • active participation - opportunities for individuals and communities to propose options and be involved in government planning and decision making

Methods and techniques  may include:

  • advisory bodies and steering committees
  • events
  • celebrations
  • launches
  • awareness activities or programs
  • public forums
  • workshops
  • face-to-face meetings and interviews
  • focus groups
  • value creation workshops
  • questionnaires (email, Internet or hard copy)
  • surveys
  • online interaction
  • negotiation tables
  • formal partnerships
  • citizens' juries
  • charettes
  • search conferences
  • deliberative polling
  • telephone interviews
  • written submissions

Barriers to community engagement  may include:

  • access constraints
  • mobility issues
  • poor past experiences with engagement processes
  • time constraints
  • lack of interest in or commitment to the issues
  • lack of understanding about an actual issue - building knowledge and literacy, knowing the scenarios
  • lack of confidence or trust in government
  • previous over-consultation
  • lack of understanding or clarity about the engagement process
  • geographical isolation
  • socio-economic levels
  • diversity variables listed below
  • community perception that nothing ever comes from engagement with government - 'talk fest'
  • social capital gate keepers - residents who block broad participation

Community engagement risks  may include:

  • political/ministerial imperatives
  • managing community expectations
  • adverse media attention
  • alternative agenda of interest groups
  • lack of commitment from decision makers
  • poor previous experiences with engagement

Those missed in the community definition  may include:

  • those who may be affected by the engagement activity
  • those who have a significant interest in the engagement activity

Community diversity  may include differences in:

  • age
  • cultural background
  • disability
  • educational level
  • English language proficiency
  • ethnicity
  • experience
  • expertise
  • family responsibilities
  • gender
  • intellectual differences
  • interests
  • interpersonal approach
  • language
  • learning styles
  • length of residence
  • life experience
  • marital status
  • mobility
  • physical differences
  • politics
  • race
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • socio-economic background
  • thinking styles
  • work experiences
  • working styles

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Community Engagement.

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