News: Perception survey response exceeds expectations

17 December 2021

During June and July 2021, over 750 people participated in the residents’ perception survey of the Council’s service levels, a 25% response rate.

This was significantly more than required for the purposes of the research and indicated a high level of engagement from our community.

A combination of online and hard copy surveys ensured a good cross-section of our community could take part. The objectives were to provide a robust measure of satisfaction with Council’s performances in relation to service delivery, across various services, infrastructure and facilities.

The survey by Key Research is one of several tools used to provide the Council with important feedback. We hear from the community in many ways and use information gathered from a range of sources to measure our performance.

Key Research’s analysis looked at the reputation benchmark and reputation profile which showed with 62% of ‘Sceptics,’ there is a lack of trust and support of Council. While the reputation profile is quite strong for the older residents (65+) and those from Greytown and Martinborough, residents who identify as Māori, as well as those residing in Featherston show the least support.

Reputation has the strongest influence on the overall evaluation of Council’s performance. The key priorities for the Council include improving the public’s perception of financial management and of trust.

Chief Executive Harry Wilson acknowledged the results were not what we would have liked across all measures.

“While we have done extremely well on customer service and delivering community-focused services across our parks and reserves (84%), libraries, (90%) and playgrounds (82%), we have some way to go about gaining high levels of trust with our community. A 43% overall satisfaction perception of our performance is definitely not the level we wish to be at.”

“Regardless of how hard we work, trust is very important to ensure that the good work we do is recognised as that. There were some high profile issues during the survey period, such as Innovating Streets and the Hinekura Road slip which would have had an impact on many of our residents, however, their experience in other areas, such as some of our infrastructure would have also featured strongly.

”Despite this, I do thank each and every one that made the effort to complete the survey. It is useful to have such insights from our community. We aim to work better at rebuilding trust and confidence, with a focus on those areas where we need to improve.”

Mayor Alex Beijen also took the opportunity to acknowledge the generosity of our community for their participation and feedback, and to signal there needs to be more effort put in to communicating the good work Council staff do each day.

“There is growth and investment across so many areas which can go unnoticed. For a small Council with limited resources and a challenging environment, it will never be possible to please everyone all the time.

“However, where there is an opportunity to improve something, big or small, then we should also let the community know it has been done. Perceptions after all are a cumulative effect from interactions, experiences and information. We have made a good start on our workplan with clear priorities from the Long Term and Spatial Plans and are eager to build on that.”

Council will use these results to help it identify where greater focus may be needed, and as a useful benchmark of performance compared to other similar authorities. These results are crucial insights into how Council can best invest its resources to improve residents’ satisfaction with its overall performance.

The survey report can be found on the Council’s website.

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