Our experience


We work with you to create successful projects that meet your objectives and the needs of those participating in engagement. Our clients and partners include local councils, government departments and agencies, health authorities and private companies.

Community Vision and Council Plan Recommendations

Following the introduction of the Local Government Act 2020, Max Hardy Consulting were instrumental in helping local governments across Victoria to deliver deliberative engagement approaches to develop their Community Vision, Council Plan and Asset Plans. 

Max Hardy worked with several councils to deliver a robust deliberative engagement process within a complex and constantly changing environment. The key features that made these projects successful included:

  • Engaging with Councillors and internal decision-makers early to help co-design the process
  • Partnering with specialist consultants to deliver a robust process
  • Working with Council to develop remits that ask the right questions
  • Adapting to circumstances and delivering online, in person or a mix of both. 
  • Facilitating events that are engaging, purposeful and process-driven.

Deliberative Engagement for complex and divisive issues

Max Hardy Consulting has been involved in the delivery of deliberative community panels to address many complex and divisive issues, such as the development of a Climate Emergency Plan 2020 for Maribyrnong City Council. 

This project involved working with a citizen advisory group over a period of months during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Key success factors for this project included:

  • Tapping into the collective wisdom of a diverse range of participants
  • Using a diverse range of engagement processes, techniques and platforms over a process to engage participants and encourage retention throughout
  • Staying composed - sticking to process and engagement principles during tricky moments or discussions with no clear resolution
  • Making sense of the outputs offered in a clear way, without diluting the intent of community statements.

Delivering external engagement for Melbourne Water

Since 2017, Max Hardy has regularly partnered with Melbourne Water to deliver external community engagement. Of particular note, the Enhancing Dandenong Creek project, where Max Hardy Consulting planned and facilitated a deliberative panel of 25 to test the innovative solutions proposed by Melbourne Water has gone on to win several awards. 

The ongoing success of this partnership has been based on:

  • Developing engagement processes that are tailored to the project and are flexible to meet the needs of both Melbourne Water and the community being consulted
  • Working with Melbourne Water to build internal capacity and support a culture of community engagement across the organisation 
  • Using a range of different engagement and facilitation approaches, including strategic questioning, appreciative inquiry, asset-based community development and systems transformation.