PDI Act 2016 - Community Engagement Charter


Insights | PDI Act 2016 - Community Engagement Charter - Second Consultation Draft

NOVEMBER 2017 | by Alison Brookman

  • Second consultation draft of the Charter released for 6 weeks consultation
  • Important part of the new planning system
  • Likely to evolve as it is tested during the preparation of designated planning instruments by the State Planning Commission

A second draft of the Community Engagement Charter has been released for consultation.

DPTI has also released a Draft Charter Guide. The guide covers engagement processes and practises and behaviours that will satisfy the principles of the Charter. Both drafts are available on the SA Planning Portal.

The Community Engagement Charter will be used for the engagement process in the preparation and amendment of planning instruments and schemes as specified in the legislation.

The Charter will be particularly relevant for these entities:

  • The State Planning Commission
  • The Chief Executive of DPTI
  • Infrastructure scheme coordinators
  • Councils
  • Joint Planning Boards

Following a consultation process the State Planning Commission and the Minister must be satisfied that the relevant entity has complied with the Charter.

While the Charter is an important document, it is also essential to remember that it will not apply to assessment of development applications.

The Charter will include:
1. Mandatory requirements – these override the principles and performance outcomes;
2. Principles – to guide engagement;
3. Performance outcomes – for successful engagement;
4. Measurement of performance.

Mandatory requirements are specified where:

  • a proposal (not a development) is specifically relevant to a particular council or councils and is not proposed by the council
  • a proposal is generally relevant to councils
  • it is proposed to enter a place in the PDC as a local heritage place
  • it is proposed to amend the PDC to include a
  • it is proposed to amend the PDC to include a policy of heritage character or preservation that is similar in intent or effect to a local heritage listing
  • infrastructure delivery schemes

Principles – these must be considered by the decision maker in the approach to engagement:


  • Performance outcomes – people  had faith and confidence in the engagement process

Inclusive and respectful

  •   Performance outcomes - there was the opportunity to participate and be heard

Fit for purpose

  •   Performance outcomes – people were satisfied with the process, clear about the proposed change and how it may affect them

Informed and transparent

  •   Performance outcomes – information was available and accessible; people understood how their views were considered and the reasons for the outcome

Reviewed and improved

  •   Performance outcomes – improvements recommended.

Performance outcomes

  • to inform successful achievement of the principles, must be considered in preparing the engagement process, and report against these at the conclusion of engagement

Measuring performance

  • builds transparency and accountability
  • identifies good practice and improvement
  • plan to evaluate early – to identify criteria to measure and the information to collect; assists with the purpose and objectives of engagement.

It can be seen that the engagement process for preparing and amending planning instruments is somewhat prescribed and regulated, though it is emphasised that there may be numerous methods capable of satisfying the requirements.

The Charter and draft guide suggest reporting on the engagement process as various stages are reached; this could be burdensome for the relevant entity, which must in any event report at the end of the engagement process. Entities will need to be alert to different and numerous means of communication with persons and communities, and remain on top of obligations to inform, consult, communicate and report.

If you would like further information on this topic, please contact one of our specialist planning practitioners below.


The content of this newsletter is for general information purposes only and should in no way be treated as formal legal advice.