The 2021-22 Residents Survey findings further reinforce the need for Christchurch City Council to focus on the basics, with roading, water and disapproval of spending coming through as key areas of dissatisfaction.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing effects have put pressure on the Council’s budget.
“We have made a firm commitment to improving our performance over the last two years but, like many organisations, the Council’s finances have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. An important focus has been on how we can respond financially to the impacts of COVID-19”, says Christchurch City Council Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale.
Overall satisfaction with the Council in 2021-2022 is sitting at 42 per cent – a decline from last year’s 49 per cent result.
“Given the extremely trying circumstances recently, we have done well to maintain core services, but we strongly recognise the need for improvement.
“Many of the same themes were raised by residents this year and our attention remains firmly focused on delivering the basics – like water, roads and transport – and doing them better,’’ Mrs Baxendale says.
“They are a core focus of the Long Term Plan, particularly in the first three years. However, we need to be realistic that infrastructure outcomes such as these will take time and significant budget commitments.”
Mrs Baxendale says there are some positives from the survey findings.
“While the overall satisfaction score has declined slightly, many of our services achieved high levels of satisfaction, especially given the challenges of the pandemic. Waste management, parks, and libraries were just some of the services that scored highly.
“Something that’s extremely pleasing to see is that where people are interacting face-to-face with our staff, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For example, the satisfaction score for walk in customer service is sitting at 97 per cent.”
The Council is taking a new approach to results this year, with Heads of Service providing responses to the feedback, and individual solutions for a path to improvement.
The feedback is being considered now, as part of the final Annual Plan decision-making.
“We’re committed to owning and acting on these results; we know we need to do better for our residents and improve the services we provide. The survey results and resident comments will help us as we continue to reshape the organisation, using this information to inform our decisions,” Mrs Baxendale says.
The Residents Survey programme involved two pieces of research – the Point of Contact Surveys conducted over the course of the past year with 6,265 Council customers, and the General Service Satisfaction Survey, an online survey of 773 people done in January and February 2022.