Community satisfaction survey results for 2022 have been released by East Gippsland Shire Council, which reveal that it has some work to do to achieve a better scorecard – and Council says that this effort has already begun.
East Gippslanders are surveyed annually to check their satisfaction with Council's performance and services, and to provide Council with a snapshot of a randomly selected group of ratepayers and residents.
Local Government Victoria coordinates this statewide Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey, which is conducted by independent research company National Field Services. The survey found a similar downward trend across Victoria.
A representative sample of 400 East Gippsland’s 48,000 residents were surveyed by phone earlier this year.
The survey helps Council identify which services or activities may need to be improved and allows it to compare its survey ratings with the average for large rural councils in Victoria. It asked residents to rate Council on the following core measures:
· Overall performance;
· Consultation and engagement;
· Community decisions;
· Sealed local roads;
· Waste management;
· Customer service; and
· Overall Council direction.
East Gippsland Mayor Cr Mark Reeves noted that satisfaction across the state had trended down since peaking in June 2020, following Council’s strong response to the bushfires of 2019/20, but that satisfaction with Council is on par with surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019.
“The results show community satisfaction across some service areas has declined and we have dipped below the large rural council average, something we benchmark ourselves against,” Cr Reeves said.
“But we’re already focused on improvements. We’ve conducted three service reviews since this survey was done, we’ve adopted a new environmental sustainability strategy and we’re pushing ahead with a new customer complaints strategy and even more community engagement.
“We’ll determine where and why our services have failed to meet community expectations and redouble our commitment to ensuring they do in the future,” Cr Reeves said.
CEO Anthony Basford said: “While it is disappointing to see a dip in results, I believe this is partly due to the external service delivery challenges Council faced earlier this year. These include the extended high level of rainfall, which caused excessive vegetation growth over summer, and the continued challenges of dealing with COVID-19.
“A key priority for Council is to make our services accessible to the community and we welcome opportunities for residents to interact with us,” he said.
The performance rating for sealed local roads, planning and building permits, and slashing and weed control were all significantly lower than the large rural council average.
“This year’s rating tells us that our performance for these services fell well short of the community’s expectations,” Mr Basford said.
“Sealed local roads and slashing and weed control posed challenges associated with the higher-than-average rainfall over summer, causing issues in road conditions and also extended vegetation growth that was difficult to maintain. Planning has also certainly faced challenges during this time, including the unprecedented workload generated by post-bushfire workload and investment, but we approved around 700 planning permits, an increase of about 30 per cent on the average level, in the 12-month period leading up to the survey – a massive achievement – and our planning team has been recognised at both state and national level.
“I’m optimistic that as we continue to work through these challenges, the services we deliver will be closer to community expectation and as a result, we will start to see an increase in these ratings,” Mr Basford said.
For more information on the 2022 Community Satisfaction Survey and the full report, visit www.eastgippsland.vic.gov.au/council/community-satisfaction-survey.
Media Enquiries: Communications Team – (03) 5153 9500