Every year, Local Government Victoria (LGV) coordinates a state-wide Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey. The main objectives of the survey are to assess the performance and services of Victorian councils across a range of measures and to seek insight on ways to provide improved or more efficient service delivery, as well as fulfilling the statutory reporting requirements of councils.
Council has received its 2021 Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey of Central Goldfields Shire Council.
The survey featured feedback from 400 local residents across a range of age groups and locations and was conducted in early 2021.
Central Goldfields Shire Mayor Cr Chris Meddows-Taylor said although the survey period largely covered a period before the Council was elected the information provided is really useful and enables Council to establish baseline data to monitor its impact over the coming years.
“As the assessment period commenced in early February after the holiday season and with so little time in office, as we expected, the results are very similar to those of the previous year with the results for Overall Performance unchanged from last year, but that is still really useful baseline data so I really want to thank everyone who participated in this.”
“It was encouraging to see a small lift in Lobbying, Community Decisions and Consultation and Engagement. These are things that are at the heart of an elected Council’s role so possibly an indication of increased confidence in having a newly elected although reflecting the limited time the Council had to have impact”
“Importantly Council Direction rose and is now in line with other similar size councils and all councils statewide and that is pleasing to see.”
Customer Service has been a traditional high result area for Council over many years but unfortunately within the 2020 COVID year this declined considerably.
The Mayor said Council was disappointed in this but recognised how challenging 2020 had been due to COVID restrictions that required Council to close its Customer Service Centre, Art Gallery, Library and Visitor Information Centre to the public for a considerable length of time; and staff were required to work from home under the Chief Health Officer directions
“We know our community like to come into the Council office to pay their rates and meet with staff. Not being able to do so during COVID lockdowns has clearly had an impact,” he said.
The CEO Lucy Roffey said that “while I was incredibly proud at how the organisation swiftly moved to online and remote work during COVID, we are battling with out of date systems that are simply not up to the task. Our IT department have made considerable inroads to modernising our systems, but we are coming off a low base.
“At the end of 2020 we started to move all of our planning, building and other permits to an electronic system, up to that point everything was paper based. In 2021 we will be investing in a Customer Request System which will allow us to manage and measure all of our interactions with customers in one system regardless of if they are by phone, over the counter, by email or mail.”
The Survey identified that among those people surveyed who did have contact with Council, (56%) provide a positive customer service rating of ‘very good’ or ‘good’, including 24% of residents who rate Council’s customer service as ‘very good’.
“This supports our long-standing strong results for customer satisfaction. The contribution our staff make is valued and for those accessing the service despite the changes and constraints of 2020, Cr Meddows-Taylor said.
Waste management is a changing and challenging area for all councils and has been a high priority for Council with much work given to effective outcomes and cost containment. The Survey shows Council’s assessed performance rose significantly for the period.
Council has been briefed in depth on the survey results by the consultants. The survey results will be tabled at the July Ordinary Meeting of Council.