The Ipswich City Council administration building.
The Ipswich City Council administration building.

Survey shows 30 per cent of residents happy with council

THIRTY per cent of residents are happy with Ipswich City Council, which has increased since last year.

The 2019 Community Satisfaction "Pulse Check" Survey showed a significant improvement on results from 2018.

Almost one-third of respondents (31 per cent) were satisfied or very satisfied with council's ability to build and maintain the trust and confidence of the community - which was considerably more than the 2018 survey (21 per cent).

And, while about 43 per cent of Ipswich residents were dissatisfied with council's ability to build trust and confidence, this was significantly lower than in 2018 at 59 per cent dissatisfaction.

Interim administrator Greg Chemello said this was obviously a positive result but there was still room for improvement.

"The results show we have listened, and that is starting to be appreciated by the Ipswich communities. Council has to continue on this path and communicate with residents frequently and transparently on what steps are being taken to move forwards," he said.

"Critically, I have always said full community confidence and trust can only really return to this council after some 6 to 12 months of elected representation, when the community sees there is not a return to the former conduct and poor behaviours of the past."

Previous councillors were dismissed by the State Government in August 2018, with Mr Chemello and an Interim Management Committee appointed to guide council to the next local government elections in March 2020. CEO David Farmer joined council at the start of 2019.

The Pulse Check survey found satisfaction with council's decision making ability had improved significantly over the last 12 months; while in 2018 half of Ipswich residents were dissatisfied, that has dropped significantly in 2019 with a dissatisfaction rating of 36 per cent. Conversely, satisfaction went up from 26 per cent to 32 per cent.

Community feedback indicates that residents are still divided regarding whether council is making decisions with the best interests of the Ipswich community in mind.

Mr Chemello said council had set new policies and procedures in place to ensure residents had their say. As part of council's ongoing commitment to transparency and community engagement, a public participation session will be available during each monthly council meeting.

"If anything, the feedback from the pulse check survey shows that residents appreciate their views being heard and acted upon. We have taken steps for future elected representatives to listen to the community," he said.

"Clear communication of decisions made by council will improve trust and confidence, not to mention a public which believes those decisions are being made in their overall best interests."

There has also been a significant improvement over the last 12 months - with more people satisfied their voice is being heard - from 2018 (25 per cent) to 2019 (31 per cent).

Finally, the quality of services council provides had the highest satisfaction rating of all metrics, with 42 per cent of residents indicating they were satisfied. Those aged over 65 years were the most satisfied.

Satisfaction with council's responsiveness remained about the same as 2018, with 35 per cent satisfied and 30 per cent dissatisfied.

"It is important that council continues its reform journey and to explain its direction and vision for the future and includes residents on that journey," Mr Chemello said.

"Overall, there has been significant improvement across the board in community sentiment to council. A lot of improvements have been made in 2019 and council is definitely on the right track.

"There is a long way to go and I am confident that when new elected representatives (a mayor and eight councillors across four divisions) lead the council after March they will carry on with the progress that has been made in 2019, and finally enable Ipswich communities to once again have confidence and trust in their council."

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