Satisfaction data stays under wrap

June 06, 2018

As another round of the Greater Shepparton City Council’s quarterly satisfaction survey takes place this month, it has declined to release the results of nine months of previous quarterly survey data early.

Corporate services director Chris Teitzel said the quarterly data was of little use.

‘‘The quarterly data by itself is not a statistically relevant sample size, but aggregated over the course of a 12-month period we end up with a statistically relevant sample size that gives us an indication of community satisfaction,’’ he said.

‘‘Councils were given the option to use the once-a-year survey or go with quarterly surveys which provide a more timely and accurate picture of the municipality.’’

The council has removed itself from the Victorian Government lead survey process and hired a private, interstate firm to undertake the surveying work which allows for the quarterly reporting, according to Mr Teitzel.

Multiple requests for access to the last three rounds of quarterly survey results were met with a rebuff.

In a previous response, the council said via a statement, “Council only has a statutory requirement to provide overall performance indicators to Local Government Victoria... this information is released along with all of the other Victorian councils’’.

The News is seeking the withheld information in the interest of providing an ongoing picture of the region’s view of the council performance and is exploring Freedom of Information avenues to unlock the data and share it with the public.

Since 1998, Local Government Victoria has co-ordinated an annual survey of community satisfaction on behalf of local councils, according to a spokesperson.

The majority of Victorian councils took part this year.

Greater Shepparton City Council has removed itself from that process and enlisted the use of private contractor Thinkfield, a Western Australia-based company.

‘‘City of Greater Shepparton did not take part in (our) survey this year,’’ the Local Government Victoria spokesperson said.

‘‘But it is required under the Local Government Performance Reporting Framework to ensure their survey and a selection of its results comply with the reporting regulations and audit requirements of the Victorian Auditor-General.’’

Thinkfield’s methodology has been reviewed by auditors, according to Mr Teitzel, and the surveying will use both landline and mobile telephones to contact respondents.

He said the questions were based on previous years’ surveys.

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