Ballarat City Council has bucked a statewide trend and surveyed double the amount of people in its annual community satisfaction survey compared to previous years.
In a bold move during an council election year, the City of Ballarat was one of just ten councils which conducted its own independent community satisfaction survey.
Mayor Des Hudson said a major reason behind the council conducting its own survey was to increase the sample size of people questioned from 400 to 800. He also said individualising the survey allowed the council to ask more Ballarat specific questions and gauge a more in-depth understanding of where residents stood on major issues.
Cr Hudson said an independent survey firm was appointed to undertake the satisfaction survey with questions tailored specifically to the municipality and the council’s activities. Results for the statewide survey last year found a significant drop in community satisfaction with “community consultation”.
The council also lagged behind the state average in “overall council direction” and rated poorly in parking and its town planning policy. However, the survey found the council was leading the way in customer service ranking among the best in the state in business development and community and cultural events.
The survey is an annual report which examines Victorian councils on their overall performance, customer service and advocacy.
Victorian local government minister Natalie Hutchins said if councils did not take part in the state satisfaction survey they must complete their own surveying of community views based on performance, decision-making and processes. She said the survey was a critical opportunity for councils to gather insights into their community's views and learn to improve based on the results.
The survey is a mandatory regulation introduced by the state government in 2014. The council’s policy and projects strategist Cameron Duthie said the survey results will be published publicly once they have been formally reported to council in August.
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