Results have been released for the annual Community Satisfaction Survey identifying areas with increased performance and areas with room for improvement.
Each year, Baw Baw Shire residents are surveyed to gauge satisfaction with Council’s performance and services. The survey helps Council identify which areas are performing well and where improvements are required to meet changing community expectations. Performance results are also compared with other similar large rural Councils.
The annual survey is conducted by JWS Research, coordinated by the Victorian Government on behalf of Victorian Councils. A random sample of 400 adult residents are interviewed by phone between February and March each year. Of the 400 respondents, 68 per cent had contact with Council over the last 12 months.
The seven performance measures assessed by the survey include overall performance, community consultation, advocacy, decisions made in the interest of the community, sealed local roads, customer service and overall Council direction.
What we’re doing well
- Results show improvement in residents’ satisfaction with Council’s overall performance. Top performing areas include emergency and disaster management, elderly and family support services.
- Results show a significant improvement with customer service. Live Chat is an increasingly popular tool being used by the community with a record 835 chats in August. This reduces phone-wait times and solves customer enquiries and issues at first contact faster.
What needs improvement
- Maintenance of sealed local roads.
- Processing planning and building permits.
- Community consultation and engagement.
- Making decisions in the interest of the community.
- Communication and consultation opportunities around town planning, residential developments and local infrastructure.
Recent changes and improvements
- Targeted advocacy for key priorities including major roads projects, community infrastructure including more kindergartens, improved recreation facilities, education, jobs and investment, regional rail and bus connectivity and a new hospital for West Gippsland.
- Digital transformation of many services including customer service (phone system and Live Chat), planning applications and support for local business.
- An increase in community engagement opportunities with Councillors, Executive and Council Officers, particularly with more rural communities, through the Council pop-up initiative. Sessions have been well attended at Thorpdale, Longwarry and Neerim South with upcoming sessions later this year at Willow Grove and Rawson.
- Implementation of the ‘Better Approvals’ initiative to streamline Council processes for local businesses including compliance and planning applications.
- Proactive engagement opportunities to increase community input into the Annual Budget with a record 248 submissions in 2019.
- Extensive engagement to understand community expectations regarding Shire-wide road maintenance activities.
- Creation of a new Priority Development team to better respond to land development and business investment interest.
- Better collaboration between internal departments to improve efficiencies and results for community enquiries and activities.
Residents are encouraged to provide feedback any time throughout the year by contacting the Customer Service team or local Councillors.
For the full survey results, go to Community Satisfaction Survey.
As noted by Mayor Cr Mikaela Power
“We acknowledge that some services and activities fall short of community expectations and need to be improved. We want the community to know we’re serious about streamlining processes and improving service delivery across the Shire.”
“Customer service, one of our consistently strong measures, has jumped by five points since last year. This tells us that Live Chat and phone system improvements are helping to solve customer enquiries and issues at the first point of contact.”
“We thank everyone involved for providing their valuable feedback. We will use this data, along with the direct community feedback we receive through our smaller town pop-up events and customer service channels to focus our efforts on areas that our community says are top priority.”