peopleofshireTHE independent report on the performance of the Bass Coast Shire is out and the local community has rated its efforts overall as worse than average. It was better than last year, with a score of 59 out of 100, as compared to 55 the previous year but it’s a result that’s still below the state average of 60 and one that has been skewed by the attitude of non-residents (67), compared to residents (55) when marking the council’s efforts on their behalf. The shire was hammered in the 2013 Community Satisfaction Survey on the issues of traffic management (51), parking (53), the state of footpaths and local streets (51) and lobbying on behalf of the community for improvements (47). It got a bad report from those aged 35 to 49 and copped an absolute flogging from the people on Phillip Island who scored the shire’s efforts overall as 44 out of 100. Is that good? The shire itself thinks so… “Bass Coast Shire Council results in the show an improvement in three out of five measures compared to the 2012 results”, said the shire this week. “The Overall Performance Score of 59 is a significant improvement from the 2012 result of 55. It indicates that 44 per cent of the community is of the view that Council’s performance is ‘good’ or ‘very good’. This score is also two full points above the average score for large rural shires (57), and slightly below the state-wide average (60).” In fact, while 44 per cent approved of the shire’s performance overall, 56 per cent said it was either average (40%), poor (9%) or very poor (5%). The shire noted that the Customer Service score also showed a significant improvement, from 63 in 2012 to 68 in 2013, with 63 per cent of respondents rating Council’s customer service as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. But its claims about an improved performance in the Community Consultation measure, up from 53 to 55, doesn’t hold much water. It’s still below the statewide average of 57 and indications are that women 18-49 (52) and Phillip Island residents in general (41) rate the shire’s performance very poor in this regard. Overall though, it was enough for the CEO Allan Bawden to spin up some positives. “It is gratifying to see the improved results in overall performance, consultation and customer service. I think these results reflect the efforts by Council staff in providing high quality service to the community,” said Chief Executive Officer Allan Bawden. “The score for Overall Council Direction fell slightly in comparison to 2012, but is still above the average for large rural councils and only just below the state-wide average. “There were also improvements in perceived performance regarding the condition of local streets and footpaths, and the appearance of public areas.”

‘Disappointing’ “However, the result for Advocacy – Council lobbying on behalf of the community – is disappointing, with the score falling from 52 to 47. The score included the largest percentage of ‘don’t know’ answers to the survey, at 24 per cent. It will be most interesting to understand the drivers for this score. “Council will also be looking at those areas where importance exceeds performance by more than 10 points, such as traffic management, parking facilities, waste management and recreational facilities.” The annual Community Satisfaction Survey is commissioned by the state government, with 71 councils participating this year. A total of 700 completed survey interviews were achieved in Bass Coast between February 1 and March 24 this year. Copies of the full report (in two parts) can be viewed at http://www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/css2013