Council services and facilities ranked high, reputation dips
The latest results from an annual resident perception survey show an overall improvement in the public perception of Waipā District Council’s services and facilities, but a drop in reputation since 2020.
The survey report was presented at a Service Delivery Committee workshop by Council’s Manager for Business Improvement & Risk Management Georgina Knapp, and Manager for Communication and Engagement Hannah Blake.
The survey was taken from 432 respondents who were asked to rank Council’s core activities, services and infrastructure as well as their wider perspective of performance, which covered Waipā District Council’s reputation and the respondent’s own knowledge of Council’s activities. The survey is carried out four times a year and collated to provide an overall rating for the year.
Overall, the report indicated a slight dip in reputation measures with an overall reputational benchmark remaining in a good range. Respondents key points relating to reputation were a general disagreement with how rates are spent and not enough consultation as the main reasons for ranking poorly.
Chief executive Garry Dyet said the results were unsurprising after Council consulted on a range of contentious topics in the previous year.
“We’ve asked our residents for their thoughts on some challenging topics in the past twelve months, establishing a new Māori Ward for the district, a cycling trial ‘Streets for People’ in Cambridge, a new concept plan for our beloved War Memorial Park in Te Awamutu, along with our Long Term Plan for the next ten years in the district,” said Dyet.
Benchmarking the results across other councils in New Zealand indicated a similar drop in reputation measures but an increase in perception for Waipā’s delivery of water supply and roading infrastructure measures.
Waipā also ranked highly as a district that is accepting and welcoming to newcomers, ranking at 91 percent and respectful towards cultural diversity.
The perception of public facilities and services remained the highest area of performance at 53 percent, with those using the facilities more likely to rate significantly highly than those who didn’t. These facilities include public libraries, museums, pool facilities, event centres, sports fields, parks and reserves.
Findings from the report identified some key areas for Council to focus on, said Dyet.
“Roading maintenance received the most comments across the board from respondents so this is certainly a key area to focus on for us, as well as communicating better how rates are spent.
The results from the survey would be factored into the Council’s key performance indicators, Dyet said.
“I find the perception that we don’t engage enough with our residents interesting as we’ve had record levels of feedback over the past twelve months and have had boisterous debates.
“This is democracy at its finest so we’ll certainly be working on how we engage with our community better in future.”
An interesting result in this year’s survey was the indication that two in five residents are unaware of the purpose of Community Boards. The representation review of Community Boards in Te Awamutu and Cambridge is currently underway. Residents are invited to learn more at waipadc.govt.nz/haveyoursay.
The full report and results of the Annual Resident Perception Survey is available on the Council website at waipadc.govt.nz/our-council/haveyoursay/annualresidentssurvey.