It's important to me that local government representation is genuinely values-driven and not issue-driven. This is what believe. Applying the core values of community and understanding what matters, integrity in the process, and importantly action for outcomes.
With the recent release and discussion of results revealed in the 2016 Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey one could conclude increasing dissatisfaction with council and their service provision is symptomatic of several higher profile council issues that have attracted differing views and opinions.
So how does measuring satisfaction of council assist our City to move forward and improve? If as citizens we hold many, and often opposing views, will a survey exploring satisfaction in lobbying, consultation and council directions prove useful? Because if I felt strongly about issue "A" and the lobbying or consultation about the matter didn't result in my desired outcome, how would I be able to rate my satisfaction with council in any other way than poorly?
This is why measuring satisfaction instead of experience, creates a problem. When was the last time you left (or interacted with) a business, organisation or establishment talking about “service satisfaction”, rather than the “experience” you had?
You see, satisfaction is a judgement about whether expectations were met. It is influenced by varying individual standards, different expectations, the customer’s disposition and previous experience. Customer satisfaction surveys tend to ask customers subjective questions about their satisfaction with a service. Experience questions on the other hand, relate to the customer’s actual, more objective experiences of the service and aim to avoid value judgments and the effects of existing expectations.
As a candidate in the upcoming local government elections, I am committed to understanding the rate payer and community's experience.
It's my vision that your experience with Council and local representation is transformed.
An experience that focuses on engaging and active community consultation, allowing different levels of participation and varied contribution from a wide range of community members, not just a vocal few (read my last blog post on community engagement opportunities).
To deliver on a transformative experience you need to be a values-driven representative. Putting values first will ensure our community is best represented when faced with any challenge, opportunity or decision.
It's why my energy and effort will focus on what matters to the community to uphold its interests.
It's why I will ensure sound exploration and research into priorities, while respecting the importance of factual information and not over reacting to 'hype' or anecdotal evidence.
It's why my decision making will always ensure a long term focus, in order to create a legacy for future generations to benefit from.
It's why I value council direction being identified utilising new and exciting engagement techniques.
Your representation should deliver a great experience to rate-payers and citizens of Bendigo. An experience worth talking about. An experience that is envy of those living outside our great city. Now that would be worth measuring!
Local government isn't the only sector mandated to conduct these types of surveys. The work to enable benchmarking across similar sized entities to understand our communities sentiments is important, and I am optimistic that Council will be able to do more with feedback that is objective in relation to the experience. That is why I will support new opportunities to ask the community to reflect on their experiences, to be able tailor improvements that effectively address challenges to enable the best possible rate payer experience.
COMMUNITY. INTEGRITY. ACTION.
Yvonne Wrigglesworth is a Councillor in the Eppalock Ward, City of Greater Bendigo Council.