Stakeholder engagement

Page last updated: 21 November 2016

Printable version of the Stakeholder Engagement Strategy (PDF 404 KB)

It is widely recognised that better outcomes for food regulation are achieved if a wide range of stakeholders are involved and engaged in the system. To assist with this, an Engagement Strategy has been developed. It aims to create a shared understanding among stakeholders of effective ways to engage in dialogue about food regulation issues. The vision and objectives are as follows:

A co-operative and mutually beneficial approach to engagement that promotes clarity, integrity, trust and connectivity, to support a workable and effective joint Australian and New Zealand food regulation system.
To increase stakeholders’ awareness and understanding of the opportunities to engage, and to facilitate fair and equitable engagement among a diverse range of stakeholders.
The success of the strategy depends on a commitment by all stakeholders in the joint food regulation system to adopt and apply a collaborative approach to stakeholder engagement.

Stakeholders in the joint food regulation system are extensive and include individual consumers, industry bodies, primary producers, food manufacturers, importers and retailers, public health organisations, consumer advocacy organisations, community groups, and all levels of government in Australia and New Zealand. These groups often have competing interests and the joint food regulation system aims to satisfy a range of interests, without compromising public health. Even within each of the stakeholder groups there are diverse views. Therefore, stakeholder engagement often focuses on addressing the tensions between these interests and seeks to resolve them.

The joint food regulation system is complex and has broad aims and objectives. It is recognised that food regulation will not always be the one (or only) means for advancing these objectives. There are also a range of other frameworks in place in relation to regulatory and non-regulatory food-related issues. Examples include: initiatives in public health nutrition; healthy eating guidelines; and protection for consumers from false and misleading information about foods.

To realise the vision and achieve the objective of the strategy, engagement processes are guided by a set of core principles. These are of equal importance, recognising there may be practical limitations, constraints on resources that are experienced by all stakeholders, and a need to prioritise activities within available resources.
Principles of Effective Engagement


Clear purpose, scope and outcomes
Engagement processes should be undertaken with a clear purpose and scope. The constraints and conditions of the engagement process should be communicated to stakeholders. Stakeholders should be aware of how a contribution can affect an outcome.


Appropriateness and structure
Engagement processes should be structured and appropriately designed for each issue being considered, mindful of practical realities. Engagement opportunities should be offered early in the consideration of an issue. Information shared among stakeholders should be recorded and considered before making a decision. The appropriate level of engagement should be clearly articulated for all processes.


Open communication and collaboration
Engagement processes should foster dialogue that is open, genuine and reciprocal. Engagement processes should be based on communication that is adaptable and can occur through multiple channels.


Inclusiveness and balance
Engagement opportunities and processes should enable fair and equitable participation, and should take into account the impacts and benefits of decisions on stakeholders. Engagement processes should include stakeholders form both Australia and New Zealand, where appropriate.


Commitment, accountability and transparency
All stakeholders in the joint food regulation system should commit to improving the quality of engagement. Stakeholder should provide each other with timely, constructive and evidence-based information and be accepting of differing positions. Stakeholders should be mindful to maintain confidentiality of information, where appropriate. Processes and decisions should be transparent.
The Engagement Framework has been developed to give an overview of the different levels and types of stakeholder engagement processes that can be applied within the joint food regulation system.

Engagement processes

It is recognised that different engagement methods are needed for different processes and subject matter. Engagement among stakeholders for a particular issue could occur at one or more of the levels identified in the framework. At each of the levels of engagement, the framework includes some possible indicators of whether an engagement process is working well, and provides some broad examples of a situation where the engagement may occur at each of the levels.

It is important to note that each of the levels of engagement can also occur at any stage of the policy, food standards development and the implementation processes. It is also important to recognise the practical constraints and limitations on the resources that are available to all stakeholders and that activities need to be prioritised.
 Engagement level
Purpose To provide good quality sources of information about key activities, engagement opportunities and decisions. To seek advice and suggestions on a particular process or issue. To be part of structured dialogue about an issue or process. To be part of a shared process with a common objective. To propose a new policy topic. To make an application for a new standard. To propose a new standard.
Indicators of effectiveness Stakeholders:
  • are aware of sources of information
  • can easily access key information
  • are informed of key activities and milestones in a timely way
  • understand the information provided.
  • understand why advice is needed
  • agree to provide advice
  • provide pertinent advice.
  • participate in dialogue
  • perceive that there is an equitable balance of interests represented
  • understand the purpose and intended outcome of the dialogue.
  • develop a shared objective and process
  • perceive that there is an equitable balance of interests represented
  • Understand the rationale for group decisions.
  • have their issue considered
  • have influenced a process or decision.
Possible mechanimum / Tools
  • Food Regulation website
  • FSANZ website
  • Food Regulation Secretariat contact list
  • FSANZ Contact list
  • Advertising
  • Seminars
  • Printed material
  • Forums
  • Jurisdictions may initiate engagement activity.
  • Broad call for comments or written submissions from the Food Regulation Secretariat or FSANZ
  • Direct approach for advice from Jurisdictions or FSANZ
  • Jurisdictions may initiate engagement activity.
  • Invitations to group workshops, meetings and stakeholder forums from the Food Regulation Secretariat or FSANZ
  • One-to-one discussions (by invitation)
  • Jurisdictions may initiate engagement
  • Working groups / project committees, technical advisory groups or innovation projects (by invitation)
  • Jurisdictions may initiate engagement activity.
  • Contact FSANZ to make an application for, or to propose, a new standard
  • Contact your local member of Parliament, a Forum or FRSC Member, or enforcement agencies in your jurisdiction
  • Jurisdictions may initiate engagement activity.
Examples Notifications about items for consultation, or other engagement opportunities such as consultation forums or workshops, will be circulated by the Food Regulation Secretariat and FSANZ or be available on the respective websites. Jurisdictions also share information on their websites. A FRSC working group or individual jurisdictions may seek comment on the development of a policy and will do so via the Food Regulation website. In seeking input when developing a food standard, FSANZ will issue a call for consultation via its email alerts, website and social media. In addition to items for broad consultation, ISFR may ask industry stakeholders to be part of a working group to develop approaches to assist in the consistent implementation of a food standard. For example, ISFR worked with the Australian flour millers to develop a National Implementation Strategy for the mandatory fortification standards. FRSC, FSANZ and jurisdictions may ask for input from stakeholders at various stages of the policy development and standards development processes. For example, a FRSC working group may invite stakeholders with specific technical expertise in the early stages of policy development. To initiate discussion about a policy issue, correspondence should be directed to a local member of Parliament or enforcement agency in the first instance. To have an issue tabled for discussion at a Forum or FRSC meeting, correspondence should be forwarded to the committees via the Food Regulation Secretariat.

Adapted from the IAP2 Public Participation Spectrum developed by the International Association for Public Participation, 2004.

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