The Annual Community Survey commenced in November 2017 and concluded in December 2017. The first Annual Community Survey occurred in 2013, with the years to 2016 measuring satisfaction with themes related to the Strategic Community Plan 2012-2025.
Now with strong trend data available, Council sought to undertake the regular survey on a biennial basis allowing alternate surveys to focus on key projects and strategic issues. The 2017 Survey is the first of these strategic surveys that focusses on specific areas of interest to gain opinions of current and future opinions of current and future directions, rather than satisfaction with services. A different approach was adopted to look into key areas to help with the further development of a Strategic Community Plan.
The Annual Community Survey provides Council with relevant, timely and statistically valid information in relation to community views of services by Council, awareness of these services and specific improvements that can be made in areas where satisfaction has historically been low. The overarching aim of the research this year was to gain insight into key planning areas that will help with the delivery of services and future planning for the area.
The results from the Survey will be used to inform decision making internally at Council and to measure Council’s performance across various KPIs.
Specifically, the research covers the following aspects:
· Residents’ ratings of the importance of key service areas as defined by the 2017/18 Annual Business Plan and Budget.
· Addressing areas of dissatisfaction, including footpaths, services for younger residents and older residents, leadership.
· Future planning regarding aged care services and major developments.
· Ways that Council can assist in connecting the community.
· Residents’ perceptions on Council initiatives ie place-making, community hubs and mixed use developments.
· What residents like about Burnside.
Importance of services
As part of Council’s review of services for developing future plans for the area, five key service areas were developed. A preliminary survey was undertaken to gauge residents’ ratings of the importance of these areas for prioritising funding in the 2017/18 Annual Business Plan and Budget.
In this year’s Survey a more in-depth approach was taken to gauging the importance of service areas by analysing key components in order to gain an aggregated measure for each service area. Findings were consistent with this earlier research but indicate that residents still feel all of these services to be important.
While providing core services such as infrastructure and financial management will always be pivotal to resident satisfaction, so long as performance in those areas is consistently of high standard, there is openness from the community for Council to provide support and assistance in a variety of other ways.
Build Burnside relates to:
· New infrastructure.
· New playgrounds.
· New community facilities.
· Renewal and maintenance of existing community buildings.
· Renewal and maintenance of parks, gardens and reserves.
· Maintenance and new plantings of street and reserve trees.
· Street and public cleansing.
In line with findings from the preliminary survey, ‘building’ the community was deemed by residents as the most important focus area for Council, with infrastructure at the forefront of this. Provision and maintenance of street trees was rated as second most important out of any service as well.
Regulate Burnside relates to:
· Building and planning regulations.
· Food and public health regulations.
· Local law regulation.
· Financial management.
· Internal support and governance.
· City safety.
· Waste management.
Regulation of Burnside was considered the next most important area for Council focus. Emphasis was particularly placed on financial management, an area of continued interest for residents.
Enhance Burnside relates to:
· Urban planning and design.
· Conservation and land management.
· Heritage initiatives.
· Sustainability initiatives.
· Partnering in service delivery.
While measures to enhance Burnside Council areas were ranked third, there was little difference between importance ratings in this area when compared to regulation. Sustainability initiatives in particular would appear to be widely supported by residents, reflecting their value on the natural assets of the region.
Connect Burnside relates to:
· Community services for elderly and people with a disability.
· Social inclusion and wellbeing programs.
· Family and youth services.
· Library services and community learning.
· Community Centres.
· Recreation services and facilities.
· Swimming pool.
· Customer experience.
Measures to assist with community connectedness were ranked as fourth most important. Mostly the higher ranking of this area was due to the importance placed on provision of recreational facilities and community centres with 55 per cent of residents rating this as very important. Support programs for the elderly and disabled are also seen as a key area of focus for Council, while youth and migrant programs had less support.
Activate Burnside relates to:
· Arts and culture programs.
· Communications and engagement.
· Economic development.
· Community events.
The provision of ‘activation’ measures remains the lowest ranked priority for Council focus according to residents. The lowest score for any item was for the provision of events, arts and culture programs; however it is important to note that this is still deemed a priority by 63 per cent of respondents. Providing community opportunities to bring forward ideas and suggestions was also highly rates, with 84 per cent of residents rating it important in some way.
Awareness of council services
Council provides a wide range of services for residents in addition to major service areas. In order to better assess awareness of Council activities amongst residents, a question was asked on 19 specific items to see where knowledge of these is lacking in the community. All respondents were aware of at least one of the services that they were asked about. Lowest awareness was found on the Council’s provision of a cemetery, the youth advisory committee, medical waste disposal and free mobile phone recycling.
Services with the highest awareness were graffiti removal, justice of the peace and vermin control assistance.
Generally older residents were more aware of services provided, while younger residents had significantly lower awareness on a number of items.
What residents like about living in Burnside Council
Residents are most pleased with the greenery and well-maintained nature areas of Burnside Council, with 49 per cent mentioning that what they like about living in Burnside Council are the trees and tree-lined streets, while 29 per cent stated their enjoyment of parks and reserves. Quietness and proximity to the city and shopping areas are also highly valued by residents.
For more information on the Annual Community Survey, please see Document Library above right.