City of Casey Case Study

Uncovering what matters to the people of Casey, to create Australia’s most liveable City

"I have loved the last two weeks and have felt like our work was in excellent hands at all times. I am so happy with the result both professionally and personally"

~ Ann Selby, Community Engagement Advisor, City of Casey (Client)

The Project

Conversation Caravan was engaged by the City of Casey Council to support the design and delivery of an engagement program to inform the development of its 2019-20 Action Plan.

A place-based approach was used to consult with people out in the community as they were going about their daily activities or meeting within their existing groups. This approach was supported by an online survey and Conversation Boxes that were located in key community facilities and business to invite direct project submissions.

The engagement centred around two key questions:

  • What matters most to you now? Your family? Neighbour?
  • What is your big idea to make Casey an even better place to live, work or play?

Conversation Caravan engaged 1,287 people who either live, work or play in Casey throughout the consultation period of 22 February to 24 March 2019.

The data identified seven key themes:

  • Getting around – Transportation is a far more emotive consideration than the physical infrastructure needed. Residents want to be able to spend less time in traffic and more time with their families or loved ones.
  • Working locally – Working locally is about spending less time commuting and more time for leisure, health and family. Working and living locally was also considered by some to be a determinant of an ‘affluent’ area and some participants were concerned  that the area has a skilled workforce that do not have access to equal opportunities such as those living in the city.
  • Places to Play – Places to play includes everything from keeping physically active, enjoying time with family and socialising in your local areas.
  • Creating neighbourhoods – Creating neighbourhoods is about creating connection through the physical environment (paths, activities) as well as connection to each other.
  • Caring for the environment – Residents enjoy living in an area where the air, water and land are free from contaminants and pollutants. Casey’s parks and open spaces are the most valued environmental asset, with their protection and maintenance a priority.
  • Community health and participation – Encouraging and supporting people to lead healthier lives is a priority for the entire Casey community.
  • Infrastructure for change – The community wants to see improvement happening where they live, work and play. They want to know that infrastructure is coming to alleviate their concerns and the immediate pressures of the area.

A range of businesses were supported throughout the project through the purchase of incentives. Coffee vouchers were purchased from five local food outlets, plants were purchased using vouchers from the Cranbourne Botanical Gardens and another business produced Conversation Caravan calico shopping bags to give away.  



  • Attracting community interest given the ambiguous nature of the topic (developing a Council Action Plan).
  • Tight engagement timeframe – a number of key events were being held in Casey simultaneously, which required additional staffing and support infrastructure.
  • Communicating Council’s role and the various responsibilities and roles of all three levels of government.
  • Size and geographical distance of Casey to ensure participation was representative of all the various areas.

Keys to success:

  • Focusing on ‘what matters most’ – using language that resonated with the community, while also collecting data in line with Council’s desired outcome.
  • Attending popular events – pop-ups were scheduled for community events or places where a broad range of community members would be in attendance.
  • Working with existing staff – Conversation Caravan worked closely alongside community engagement staff and in-house Engagement Champions within Council, building relationships between Council and community and increasing level of confidence in the process.
  • Incentivising participation – coffee, shopping bags, plant vouchers, canteen vouchers at the AFL game and AFL tickets were all used as incentives for community members to engage and participate at the pop-up sessions.  
  • Eye catching props – bright and colourful props were used to draw the attention of and spark interest from community members.  
  • Asking meaningful questions – asking ‘what matters most’ elevated the thinking beyond daily discomforts and invited individuals to consider what would make a difference in their lives, the lives of their family or neighbours. The ‘big idea’ focused on extending an individual’s thinking to create a ready-made idea. The questions were simple enough that anyone could provide a quick answer, and also open enough that people with time could provide a more considered response.



Feedback collected through the engagement will be used by the City of Casey as the basis for the revised 2017-21 Council Plan, as well as the 2019-20 Action Plan. It will inform how Council will advocate for, facilitate and deliver programs based on community need.

Other departments within Council have expressed their interest in utilising the data gathered throughout this process to inform their work.

Reflections and Key Learnings

  • Depending on the education, experience and cultural background, there is a limited understanding around the support Council does provide.
  • Initially, during place-based engagement, the role of Council in relation to delivering the ‘Big Ideas’ and supporting ‘what matters most’ was discussed. Facilitators stopped asking this question mid-way through the project, given the confusion and frustration it was creating.



More Information

More information on the project can be found here:

Making a difference

Here at Conversation Caravan we like to make a difference. We measure how many businesses we support in the local economy, the number of voices heard and the number of staff we believe we supported and fostered a community engagement approach.

Here are the stats for this project:

  • Economy: Seven local businesses (places coffee vouchers were purchased from, plants vouchers bought, calico bags bought)
  • Voices: 1,287 voices heard (people spoken to)
  • Staff: Eight staff supported (number of clients)