Both Bendigo and Campaspe councils point to jumps in community perception of their performances

Update 7pm

Survey results shows the Campaspe community believes it’s council is improving, even if there is still some confusion about roads, the local shire says.

The Campaspe Shire Council is the second regional council, after Bendigo, to release satisfaction survey results today

More councils are expected to follow in coming weeks.

Campaspe Shire mayor Adrian Weston pointed to a three point jump in overall direction and one point in overall performance compared to last year.

The shire’s lowest rating was for sealed roads, with Cr Weston saying there was still some confusion about which roads were managed by it and which are managed by VicRoads.

“Nevertheless, it is pleasing to see sealed local roads increasing by five points,” he said.

“We know the road network is of high importance to our community and with around $10 million spent year on year, it is good to see the index moving in the right direction.”

The shire also recorded two point decreases in scores for community consultation and making community decisions. 

However, Cr Weston was optimistic those results would improve.

“We are confident our recently adopted Community Engagement Framework and increased focus in this area will result in improvements next year,” he said.

Cr Weston said there would also be increased consultation.

Earlier:

The City of Greater Bendigo should consider the perceptions of residents aged 50 to 64 years-of-age and those in Heathcote, who currently appear to be least favourably disposed towards the council.

The results of the council’s 2018 satisfaction survey are in and while there have been no significant declines in scores, report authors suggested council improving scores in part by focusing on Heathcote and the 50-64 age bracket.

They are areas where 2018 scores have been lower.

Report authors said the council should also give attention to advocacy, which residents scored low compared to other focus areas.

It is a result that mayor Margaret O’Rourke said was unexpected.

“It is surprising the lowest performing area is the ‘advocacy’ measure, as I believe this is something council does very well and is demonstrated in the delivery of major projects,” she said.

Cr O’Rourke pointed to projects where the council has sought funding and partnered with other levels of government, such as the Bendigo Stadium expansion and Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre.

“Councillors understand that this is a small survey sample and not everyone surveyed has interacted with council, however the results are positive which is great,” she said.

Of the 400 people surveyed this year, 58 per cent had had recent contact with the city.

While there were no significant declines in scores, report authors said there were no significantly higher results either.

The council improved across most performance measures.

It’s greatest improvement was in customer service, with a score of 73, up from 69 last year.

The council is “building on significant gains in performance achieved since 2016”.

In 2016, satisfaction with council dropped across five key measures, with approval ratings in the “overall performance”, “overall direction” and “customer service” categories falling eight points to 52, 44 and 63 respectively.

That year’s report concluded that the council “lags behind” other regional centres. This year’s said results were trending back towards a peak 75 achieved in 2014.

The council was this year performing at a similar level to other regional centres, with an overall performance score two points behind the average.

Results include:

  • Overall performance – 59 (56 in 2017)
  • Community consultation – 56 (54 in 2017)
  • Advocacy – 53 (55 in 2017)
  • Making community decisions – 54 (52 in 2017)
  • Sealed local roads – 57 (59 in 2017)
  • Customer service – 73 (69 in 2017)
  • Overall council direction – 57 (54 in 2017)

City chief executive officer Craig Niemann said the findings demonstrate where the council is doing well and where improvements can be made.

“These results are just one way that we measure how we are tracking and community opinion, and the results also help meet some of our statutory reporting requirements,” he said.

Survey respondents also approved overall of the council’s community consultation and engagement.

“Of note, this measure is now just one point down on its peak result of 57 since tracking began,” researchers said.

Cr O’Rourke said she was pleased to see the community consultation measure increase.

“Council has really focused on improving its approach to community consultation and reaching more people, so it is encouraging that this has been recognised by those surveyed,” she said.