The International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Australasian Organisation of the Year Award has gone to a water utility company this year.

Melbourne Water was presented the award at the IAP2 2020 Core Values Awards ceremony for its innovative Next Generation Community Engagement Program (NextGen).

The IAP2 Awards shine the spotlight on outstanding organisations and projects at the forefront of public participation and community engagement. They celebrate excellence, quality and innovation across all government and industry sectors.

Introduced by Melbourne Water in 2016, NextGen has transformed the way the organisation involves the community in decision-making across its key strategies, projects and operational activity.

Melbourne Water Managing Director, Michael Wandmaker, said it was an honour to be judged the best Organisation in Australasia for a program founded on the IAP2 core values, especially from such a high quality field.

“NextGen continues Melbourne Water’s long and proud history of best-practice community engagement,” Mr Wandmaker said.

“Led by our Board and leadership team, it is embedded as an integral part of our operations and ensures the community is at the heart of everything we do. 

“It’s more than just a program of work – it reflects our strong culture of community engagement across the organisation.”

Some of the leading innovations delivered through Melbourne Water’s NextGen program include the use of cutting edge digital engagement and education tools, such as the popular Drip Trip App. 

The program is validated by an evaluation framework, which allows Melbourne Water to provide comparative data for all engagement activities across the organisation.

“This framework provides real-time data monitoring, enabling us to demonstrate the value of engagement and continually improve our practice,” Mr Wandmaker said.

“As well as this, our online engagement platform ‘Your Say’ has enjoyed more than 150,000 visits and over 4500 contributions from the community.

“Melbourne Water is honoured to receive this prestigious Award. It is wonderful recognition for our dedicated staff and the important work they do every day with our community.”

As winners of the Australasian Organisation of the Year, Melbourne Water automatically qualifies in this category for the IAP2 International Core Awards.

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