Colac Otway community satisfaction survey
July 8, 2021
Results from the 2021 Colac Otway annual community satisfaction survey indicate overall performance ratings are at the highest level in ten years.
The survey indicates community satisfaction with Council’s overall performance, as well as its performance in almost all service areas, has improved over the past year.
Council achieved an overall performance index score of 63, five points higher than the average for large rural councils and an increase of eight since 2020.
CE of Colac Otway Shire Council Peter Brown said it was encouraging that community perception of Council’s performance had improved.
“Public perception of Council performance in almost all service areas evaluated in the survey improved significantly this year which shows the community are pleased with the current Council and that we’re working well together.
“One of the largest gains achieved for 2021 was in environmental sustainability where Council achieved a significant increase (62, up eight points).
“Council has been working to develop environmentally sustainable initiatives and we are proud of our achievements.
“In the last 10 years, Council have installed 275kW of solar PV on Council buildings, supplying emissions-free electricity and saving the community $70,000 annually.
“Colac Otway Shire Council recently committed to reaching our Carbon Neutral Target following a range of changes Council is making to reduce residual greenhouse gas emissions.
“Another area where Council made significant improvements is sealed local roads which rated 53, an increase of nine. Past survey results indicated this was an area Council needed to improve in, so an action plan was put in place to address issues of concern.
“Council worked with the Australian Road Research Board to improve our practices and get a better understanding on making roads. We’ve worked on this over the past three years, and the 2021 survey indicates we’re now seeing results with improved satisfaction from our community.
“The survey also indicates our community has confidence in Council’s ability to respond to disasters, such as the COVID pandemic with emergency and disaster management at 73, up five points from last year.
“Councillors and staff worked hard to provide support and assistance to our community through the difficulties of 2020, so there is a sense of fulfilment in seeing data to indicate that the community recognise and appreciate what Council provided along with our local health services, local industry and government agencies.”
The survey indicated Art Centres and Libraries remain a top performing Council service scoring 72, which is an increase from last year.
Mr Brown said the score for planning and building permits continued to be an area of Council where the community indicated improvements need to be made.
“Council achieved a score of 38 in building and planning permits, and it’s the only area in Council where Colac Otway rates significantly lower than both the Large Rural group council average (48) and also the State-wide average (57).
“These results are a slight improvement, but lower than Council expected and we will continue to work on improvements in this area of our business.
“Council has been working to make internal improvements in our Planning and Building departments with a number of initiatives implemented in recent times, such as more streamlined IT processes and increasing staffing levels in our Statutory Planning Unit.
“A strong focus for the organisation over the next 12 will be on improving customer service in Planning and Building and our interaction with customers. We’re continuing to try and improve permit processing times through reducing the ‘red tape’ of planning scheme amendments and finding more efficiencies in the way we work.
“Part of this customer focus will be to consult with people who go through the planning process to get a more detailed understanding of the level of customer satisfaction and identify opportunities for improvement.
“It’s important to highlight 7 in 10 (67%) residents indicated general customer service received from Council is ‘very good’ or ‘good’. Council received a rating of 72 for customer service, which is a significant increase of eight from last year.
“While the survey results indicate Apollo Bay residents’ perception of Council performance is not as high as the rest of the shire, our coastal residents have rated the customer service they receive highly at 73 points, which – for this cohort – is up from 61 last year,” Mr Brown said.
A report of the full survey results can be viewed on the Colac Otway Shire website.