Monash achieves high community satisfaction amid pandemic

 03 August 2021

Customer service

Residents have shown strong support for Monash Council’s performance during the past year and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The overall satisfaction of 2021 Community Satisfaction Survey respondents was 7.34/10, down slightly on the record 7.51/10 in 2020.

Metropolis Research conducted the annual Community Satisfaction Survey on behalf of Council by phone with 801 residents in April and May 2021. COVID-19 again prevented the usual face-to-face interviews.

The survey measures community satisfaction with Council services and facilities, governance, leadership, planning, development, and customer service. This year’s also explored Monash values and vision as part of Council’s Imagine Monash 2040 consultation, and the creation of a new Council Vision and Council Plan.

Overall satisfaction with Monash Council was 7.34, which is close to the five-year average of 7.37 and remains in the very good range. The 2021 metropolitan Melbourne average was 6.92.

The report found that while the pandemic may have influenced community sentiment, the results showed a continued high level of satisfaction with Council performance across all services and facilities.

Monash Mayor Cr Brian Little said Council was pleased with the results, in particular the increase in satisfaction with customer service.

“These results underline just how hard Council staff and Council have worked to deliver services and maintain facilities while dealing with the many challenges of COVID-19,” Cr Little said.

“Our priorities were to keep our community and staff safe and to maintain our services, particularly to our vulnerable and aged community, and keep our community informed. We believe we do so to a high standard and the community satisfaction results demonstrate that our community thinks so too.”

City of Monash services with the highest satisfaction levels included:

  • garbage collection (8.55)
  • recycling service (8.54)
  • local library and library services (8.49)
  • green waste collection (8.48)
  • Council run services for children and their families (8.21)
  • hard rubbish collection (8.19) 
  • recreation and aquatic centres (8.13).

Average satisfaction across 28 Council services and facilities surveyed was 7.82, slightly down on 7.86 in 2020, and remained on average at an excellent level. The metropolitan Melbourne average was 7.53.

Satisfaction with Council’s customer service delivery increased by 4.3% to 7.87, taking it from very good to excellent and more than reversing a small decline in 2020.

Respondents were on average satisfied at a good level with Council’s performance maintaining community trust and confidence, its responsiveness to community needs, making decisions in the interests of the community, consultation and engagement, and representation, lobbying and advocacy.

The top five aspects respondents valued most about Monash were parks, gardens, open and green spaces, community atmosphere/feel, cleanliness and maintenance, cultural diversity, and safety.

Key local issues identified included building, housing, planning and development, parks, gardens, and open spaces, traffic management, and parking. Only eight respondents raised issues around COVID-19, down from 16 in 2020.

The only areas to record a substantive satisfaction decline were governance and leadership aspects, which fell by an average 4.5% to 7.05 – still a good level of satisfaction. The report noted this may have been due to local government elections in late 2020.

“We will reflect on the feedback around governance and leadership and will look to improve what we are doing in these areas to better meet the community’s expectations,” Cr Little said.

Monash 20 years on: Residents were surveyed about their vision for the municipality. Asked how Monash could be a better place in 20 years, the top five responses were:

  • more trees, greenery, green spaces
  • less overdevelopment / density / high-rises
  • better traffic management
  • more parks, gardens, open spaces, and equipment
  • better planning and development.

Asked to rate 10 aspects against their vision of an ideal City of Monash, the most important were:

  • well connected, rapid transport
  • sustainable consumption, resource use, reduced waste
  • growing employment, economic prosperity.

To get there, respondents said the most important routes were via better development outcomes, better / more communication and information, and quality of housing and less development.

Background: The purpose of the Community Satisfaction Survey is to measure how Victorian residents rate the performance of their Council. The results are useful to councils as they highlight areas where councils are performing well and areas for improvement.

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