24 December 2018
Ipswich City Council is working to provide the community with more ways to be heard in response to a major community satisfaction survey.
Ipswich City Council asked residents to tell us what you really think about council. Almost 2400 people responded to the Pulse Check survey conducted during November.
Despite a year of upheavals, council continued with its core delivery of services, including “rates, rubbish and roads”, and this was reflected in satisfaction levels from our residents.
A combined 49 per cent (14 per cent very satisfied, 35 per cent satisfied) were happy with the services provided by council. A further 27 per cent described them as “fair” while only 23 per cent – fewer than one in four people – were not satisfied.
Arts, Social Development and Community Engagement Chief Operating Officer Caroline McMahon said it was pleasing to see that residents continued to trust council staff to deliver key services to them.
“A total of 76 per cent of people said that the quality of services provided by council were fair, satisfactory or very satisfactory. That is a good response after everything the community has been through,” she said.
“It also means that we can further improve on our provision of services. We can use the survey responses regarding Ipswich’s infrastructure, community amenities, waste management, roads, social issues and rates to improve our service delivery and better meet the needs of the community.
“It is positive to hear comments such as: ‘In general, the council’s been super excellent, no issue there. In reality the service to the people has always been unquestionable’.”
Council engaged with 2,396 residents (1,370 female, 981 male, 45 gender other /undisclosed) from 75 suburbs and 38 cultural backgrounds. Responses came via telephone, online and face-to-face surveys.
“The Pulse Check revealed that satisfaction with the level of responsiveness residents receive from council was polarised: one-third satisfied, one-third dissatisfied and one-third neutral,” Ms McMahon said.
“Engaging with the community on what their current needs are and acting on them quickly and in a visible manner may serve to improve this measure. We can also improve our communication of what council is doing to meet community needs.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey also found that 60 per cent are dissatisfied with council’s ability to build trust and confidence.
Council’s Interim Administrator Greg Chemello said the recent corruption controversy had left Ipswich residents with feelings of uncertainty.
“To assist with re-building confidence of the community, council will be introducing new ways to engage with residents on a regular basis, to keep them informed and demonstrate transparency,” Mr Chemello said.
“The positive feedback we received via the survey demonstrates that, when it does occur, residents feel positive about communicating with council.”
Trust and confidence was reportedly the most important aspect residents wanted council to address.
Other key statistics from the Pulse Check survey included:
* Trust and confidence: 21 per cent of people had a high level of satisfaction with council’s performance in maintaining trust and confidence in the local community.
* Council decision making: 26 per cent of people had a high level of satisfaction with council’s performance in making and implementing decisions in the best interests of the community; 47 per cent were dissatisfied.
* Opportunities to be heard: 25 per cent of people had a high level of satisfaction with the opportunities council provided for their voices to be heard, 44 per cent were dissatisfied.
Some of the most positive feedback from residents related to council going into administration this year, with the appointment of Mr Chemello until the next local government elections in March 2020.
Recent measures introduced by council to help restore public trust and confidence have included a business transformation program to address the priority issues and implement positive ethical change before the elections. Under the title of Vision2020, the business transformation program consists of 18 separate projects across council’s operations and governance.
Council also announced it will establish five new strategic community reference groups in a clear effort to facilitate community input into decision making by local government. A new framework for community reference groups will align to the new standing committees of council as follows: economic development (to include discussion relating to the CBD), communities, growth and infrastructure, environment, and governance.
Council will be seeking expressions of interest from the community to establish membership in the five committees.