Satisfaction Levels Vary
Bass Coast Shire Council has largely maintained its Community Satisfaction Survey ratings from 2014, with values across all measures generally on par with last year’s results.
The annual Community Satisfaction Survey is conducted by JWS Research and coordinated by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on behalf of Victorian Councils, and surveyed 401 randomly selected residents on a number of issues.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said ratings for some areas and demographics had improved, whilst they had dropped slightly for others.
“Our results show that 18 to 34 year olds, as well as Wonthaggi and Inverloch residents, reported significantly higher ratings, whereas Phillip Island residents, along with 50 to 64 year olds, are among the least satisfied with Council,” Cr Brown said.
“Our Customer Service rated well overall, with 61 per cent of respondants rating Council as ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
“We also saw a 10-point increase from 35 to 49 year olds over the last year for Council’s overall direction; although, Council’s overall ratings in this area have remained the same.”
Cr Brown said it was also positive to see an increase in satisfaction for waste services from Phillip Island respondants.
“Our performance on waste management improved by four points and was driven by significantly better ratings from Phillip Island residents,” Cr Brown said.
“The services provided at the Cowes Recycle Depot have improved over the past year and it is encouraging to see those initiatives reflected in the survey.”
The survey assesses satisfaction levels with Council’s overall performance and satisfaction with a range of services.
Cr Brown said Council acknowledges it still has room for improvement and will continue to review services and facilities in Bass Coast.
The key findings and recommendations from the survey include:
Council’s results are lower than averages for other Councils in the Large Rural group across a number of measures. Bass Coast’s results also tend to be lower than the State-wide average across most measures.
In terms of key core measures, overall performance ratings for Council are unchanged from 2014, however Phillip Island respondants have dropped seven points over the past year in their assessment of Council’s performance.
A recommendation is to examine the specific problems and issues of Phillip Island residents and 50-64 year olds in order to drive more positive sentiment among these groups. Council could also examine what specific elements of its approach to governance is resonating so strongly with Wonthaggi and Inverloch residents and 18-34 year olds.
The proportion of residents making contact with Bass Coast Shire Council is steady at around 60%. Council rates relatively highly on customer service, with an index score of 64, which is not dissimilar to the Large Rural average (67).
On overall Council direction, Bass Coast has seen improved ratings from 35-49 year olds over the last year (up 10 points), although overall ratings of Council direction have remained the same. Council would benefit from drilling deeper into what it is about its agenda that is now making 35-49 year olds feel so much more positive towards Council direction, compared with 2014.
While the overall score on Bass Coast’s consultation and engagement efforts is largely unchanged (index score of 47), male residents are now far less impressed with Council’s performance on this measure (index score of 44 and six points lower than 2014).
Council rates lower than similar councils on this measure as well as lower than the State-wide average.
Advocacy ratings are on par with the 2014 average (index score of 47), but are significantly lower than the Large Rural council average (53) and also the State-wide average (55).
Phillip Island residents are not convinced that Bass Coast is making decisions in the interest of the community, rating Council seven points lower than last year and a significant 11 points lower than the average rating on the measure this year. Over 65s also rate Bass Coast significantly lower this year on community decision making (down six points).
Council’s lowest score, as is the case for many Large Rural councils, is on the condition of sealed local roads. Council scores 36 for sealed roads, significantly lower than the Large Rural average (45) and the State-wide average (55).
However, women, 18-34 year olds and residents in Wonthaggi & Inverloch rate Council’s performance on sealed roads significantly higher than in 2014 (up 11, 10 and 8 points respectively.) Continuing to drive improvements in sealed roads will increase goodwill among these groups.
- Council should pay special attention to service areas where perceptions have slipped significantly relative to 2014. These include the appearance of public areas (down four points), recreational facilities (down four points), and planning for population growth (down five points).
Across these measures, increased negative perceptions of Council performance are being driven by men, 50-64 year olds, and Phillip Island residents.
- Council should also pay special attention to other priority areas where it lags behind the Large Rural group average.
In addition to the four core service areas, this list includes: informing the community, condition of local streets and footpaths, traffic management, parking facilities, enforcement of local laws, elderly support services, recreational facilities, the appearance of public areas, waste management, and planning for population growth.
- Bass Coast Shire Council does perform better than others in the Large Rural council group on the issue of business and community development and tourism.
- An approach we recommend is to further mine the survey data to better understand the profile of these over and under-performing demographic groups. This can be achieved via additional consultation and data interrogation, or self-mining the SPSS data provided or via the dashboard portal available to Council.
“We are on track with our Long Term Financial Plan and our new Communications and Engagement Strategy, once adopted, will give us better direction when it comes to engaging with our entire community,” Cr Brown said.
“I look forward seeing what we can achieve over the next 12 months and would like to think that with our focus on improving our services, our engagement and our facilities, that satisfaction levels will move in a positive direction.”
A full copy of the survey is available from basscoast.vic.gov.au/css.