Positive signs in satisfaction survey

Published on 27 August 2019

Sunil Bhalla CEO.jpg

Satisfaction with services and performance has steadily improved for Horsham Rural City Council (HRCC) with slight increases for most core indicators revealed in the annual Community Satisfaction Survey.

A report detailing the 2019 Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey was presented to Council at Monday night’s August meeting.  

Four hundred people from the municipality completed telephone interviews from 1 February to 30 March 2019.

Read the full 2019 report

Chief Executive Officer Sunil Bhalla said the results were a clear indication that the community recognised improvement in Council’s performance, while still highlighting areas where it needed to get better.

Council’s overall performance increased by one point, overall council direction increased by five points and sealed roads increased by one point.

 “The survey gives us a clear snapshot of our performance at a point in time. While we’re achieving improved results in community engagement and advocacy, the community clearly wants us to do better in the area of customer service,” Mr Bhalla said.

“They also want us to do more when it comes to dealing with sealed local roads.

“I welcome these improved results, but I know that there is still a lot of work to do. Our focus is on putting the customer first and investing in those projects and services that ae important to our community.

“Since the report was delivered we have developed a list of key actions that aim to deliver improvements,” Mr Bhalla said.

“For example, our customer service team is revising its Customer Services Charter and Customer Service Standards. We are also undertaking a review of the after-hours phone service.”

When it comes to road maintenance, HRCC will soon begin engaging with the community on the Rural Roads Network Plan which will form the basis of maintenance in the future.

“The data shows that there is confusion about which roads are under the control of Council and which are the responsibility of Regional Roads Victoria,” Mr Bhalla said.

“This is an issue faced by all rural Councils. But we intend to lift our game when it comes to advocating with VicRoads and also feeding that information back to the community.”

Mr Bhalla said the survey was completed at the same time as this year’s Rates Strategy Review which likely had an impact on the feedback supplied by farmers.

Residents in the rural area rated overall performance much lower than the Council average and 12 index points lower than residents in the Horsham area.

“Women rated overall performance significantly higher than the Council average, whilst men rated performance significantly lower with a large 11-point gap between the two genders,” he said.

“Among the actions we are taking to address the dissatisfaction among farmers is a revamped format for rural engagement meetings. The recent community meetings at Toolondo and Wartook received good feedback from participants.”