Councils are well placed to influence the development of family-centred communities and to enhance family wellbeing. They have a role in providing or planning the services that families’ everyday activities are dependent on. They also have a role in influencing the activities of other agencies. For example, councils facilitate the determining of community outcomes, which guide council planning and inform central government and others about community needs.
The literature review suggests that some processes are central to ensuring local government achieves family-centred outcomes. These do not provide a simple checklist of tasks to carry out during decision-making, but rather challenge the fundamental premisses upon which decisions are made.
On the basis of the literature review, this report suggests that councils adjust the following frameworks to ensure they include concepts of family wellbeing:
- wellbeing frameworks – to ensure they capture family wellbeing (the wellbeing of the family itself, over and above the wellbeing of individual family members)
- indicators frameworks – to ensure they include measures of family wellbeing
- community outcomes frameworks – to ensure they include explicit outcomes for families.
Councils make local decisions about their communities’ needs and priorities. A family-centred approach would involve applying councils’ considerable skills and experience in public consultation and community engagement in an effort to target families.
The literature suggested that a family-centred approach would not only require collaboration between councils and other external parties but also collaboration across council functional areas.