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Asking more people

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September 16, 2017

Greater Shepparton City Council will run a community satisfaction survey.

More regular, quarterly ratepayer satisfaction surveys, will double as a platform to gauge the city’s opinion on a raft of other topics.

The state sanctioned community satisfaction survey will now be run by City of Greater Shepparton.

And councillors hopes it will give a more rounded view of performance and offer added insight into areas for improvement.

Instead of a survey gauging the satisfaction of about 500 residents at a single point in time, the council will now survey about 125 ratepayers each quarter.

The first of these will be run from Monday to September 29.

Corporate services director Chris Teitzel was confident the new model would better reflect trends across a year rather than offering a view of performance at a single point in time.

‘‘We’re hoping to get a better spread,’’ he said.

‘‘Rather than one point in time, which could be influenced by one project.’’

But the quarterly satisfaction results would unlikely be made public until the end of the 12 month reporting period, Mr Teitzel said.

Mr Teitzel was concerned as to whether 125 residents presented a sample size which was too small.

But he understood it was a reliable sample size based on the city’s populations size, following feedback from statisticians.

Mayor Dinny Adem believed the change would ‘‘help paint a more accurate opinion’’ of the council’s performance and stressed poor results could be influenced by particular residents’ concerns at the point they had been surveyed.

‘‘Hopefully we get a more accurate, balanced view,’’ he said.

Along with questions council is required to ask, Mr Teitzel said there was room for the council to also canvas the views of residents surveyed on a range of other topics where some feedback was being sought.

As an example, he suggested the council could gauge residents’ views on the performance of the Maude St Mall and opinions on the success of any proposed trial opening across the course of a year.

‘‘If you opened the mall for a trial period of 12 months, you might ask the same question over a 12-month period.’’

Previously, Mr Teitzel said the council would typically receive results, ‘‘but don’t know why we got it and don’t know what to fix’’.

He hoped the new surveying would offer more specific rectification measures need to deliver a better service.

‘‘If the community satisfaction around sealed roads is taking dive, the service provider can give detail on the comments coming through.’’

Mr Teitzel said previous surveys were not unreliable, but just the drivers behind the results were not always clear.

The change in surveying method would cost the council marginally more than previously, Mr Teitzel said.

The council had been handed an overall community satisfaction score of 52 out of 100 in the most recent survey, marking a three percentage point improvement on the previous year.

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