FREMANTLE COMMUNITY FAR FROM HAPPY WITH COUNCIL

thumbs down

Fremantle residents and rate payers disapproval of council

After I read Roels Freo view article, FREO COMMUNITY HAPPIER WITH COUNCIL,  I thought I would check out the report on the Fremantle’s City website.

On 1st review it looks ok, I start to think, hey I’m way off base with my opinion of the council, in what the rate payers and residences think. Crap, oh well I had better take my medicine and see what issues I’m so off base on. So I download the attached reports made by CATALYSE® Community Perceptions Survey  

Good news is the Herald was ranked as the best Source of information about what’s happening locally, well done Herald

Once you start reading the report and taking into consideration the data inside, it paints a completely different picture of what I read on the city’s site and Roels page. Which is pretty much a cut and paste of the city’s PR page, where they tried to make lemonade from raw onion juice. No criticism of that I cut and paste myself all the time. The real issue is the city page excerpt is completely misleading, while it makes it sound that things are on the up and moving forward, its the reading of the details that paints the real picture and moving up from where and when is one of the questions to ask?

There are several parameters to look at before you worry about the actual issues.

One is the date for studies taken, if you compare the 2005 data with data reported from 2015 survey, you will find that most of the community responses are far worse now, than the data taken from 10 years ago, hence in the last decade Fremantle on most fronts, is worse off than 10 years ago. Not a good look for our Mayor Brad Pettitt, isn’t this his 10 year anniversary for being on council?

Another is the comparison to similar or like councils in regards to best practice or the average result across the board. So here is the kicker while on things like festival most other councils don’t seem to rate, Fremantle comes out on top. While on most of the issues that directly effect residents and rate payers, Fremantles gets the worse scores, a bit concerning when this is the city we live in.

A few facts from the report out of the 25 councils that where surveyed Fremantle was ranked 18th

Overall performance compared to other councils

  • Industry high or benchmark 67%
  • Industry average 52%
  • Fremantle  overall 43%

Overall satisfaction with City of Fremantle as a place to live, down from 2012 with no records reported before 2012.

Economic development and job creation down from the 2005 score of 72, to the 2015 of 40, a huge 32 point drop.

If you take all the heading or categories of the “City of Fremantle Community Perceptions 2015” report/survey and count up the categories that use the headings

  • Benchmarking ( a couple of categories were not counted at other councils)
  • Level of satisfaction
  • History (Some history does not go back 10yrs)

Number of categories was about 37, Freo was average in 6 of them below average in 31. (in comparisons to other councils in WA)

7 where had no data doing back to 2005. In 7 of the categories, Fremantle was ahead of its 2005 score and in a couple the same. 20+ where below the 2005 standard. Making in general Fremantle  far worse than it was back in 2005 according to the feedback. In a decade the survey shows a clear decline in real standards, while we have a loss of services and some of the highest rate increases in the metro area.

Hold on, think for a second, what do you think the 4 worse areas for concern were for Fremantle residents and rate payers,

  • Economic Development and Job Creation
  • How the City Centre is being developed
  • Parking in the City Centre
  • Graffiti, vandalism and anti-social behaviour

No surprise there right.

Now when you look at what the city has promoted on its website

Some of the key areas of improvement (based on levels of community satisfaction) are:

  • overall satisfaction with the City as a governing organisation  – up 7% * up 7% from last report but no data recorded prior, seems strange
  • council’s leadership – up 9% * When I read the report from Council’s leadership within the community its actually down 9 pts from 2005
  • youth services and facilities – up 21% *Actually only up 19 pts from 2005 but a good increase all the same
  • openness and transparency – up 9% *Again I don’t see where this came from as I see it’s down 7pts from 2005, even it they use 2012 its only 7
  • value for money (rates) – up 11% *No figure from 2005 though still down 5 pts from the 2008 report
  • parks and other green spaces – up 9% *Actually down 3 pts from 2005
  • family services and facilities –  up 13% *Actually up 1 pt from 2005 not 13pts
  • access for people with disabilities – up 10%* Actually down 8 pts from 2005, this is really poor if the city did a better job in early 2000
  • conservation and environmental management – up 12%*Actually up 3 pts from 2005, really poor considering how much councillors talk about this issue
  • planning and building approvals – up 8%*Actually down 7pts from 2005 sending a really clear message to community and business
  • parking in the city centre – up 8%.*Seriously parking is better? Please, actually down 15pts from 2005

Its pretty disingenuous to claim things have gotten better when you are actually down from a true point of view from when reports/surveys started. Your standards should be set on the best achieved not benchmarking off the fact that you have run it into the ground and claim a small bounce up as an achievement, when it is well below where you started.

A quick comparison of  this council in reference to the 2005 benchmark shows they made Fremantle a worse place even the overall satisfaction with City of Fremantle as a place to live has come down 2 pts since the last survey in 2012, with no data shown before this I wonder why?

Then again we don’t really need to read the report, a quick read of the paper or walk through town tells us the story. If they want to actually make things better its only done by taking a good honest look at the real situation, not with heavily rose tinted glasses.

Don’t take my word for it, top of the page is a link to the report, have a read and decide for yourself .

rose tinted glasses

Sometimes we go around deceiving ourselves into thinking things are a lot better than they actually are.

Leave a Reply

3 comments

  1. Martin says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great blog, as it puts a more balanced perspective on the survey results, which are certainly at odds with the CoF press release.

    If you read the 2012 survey results, similar insights come out. The recommendations for change and areas of improvement are practically the same for the 2012 and 2015 survey results.

    What has the CoF done in the past 3 years to address these issues? Very little, it would seem. The benefits from these surveys are wasted if the results are ignored, and the CoF carries on “business as usual”?

    For our Mayor to state that the survey results give him “a sense that we are on the right track”, suggests that there will be no change in course for the CoF.

    Interestingly, one of the areas with the highest satisfaction scores is the Library. The Library has consistently scored very highly since before 2005. Why is the construction of a new Library a spending priority of our Council? Perhaps there are higher priorities for the allocation of rate payers money?

    Seriously, we have a very well developed survey, which compares CoF performance against 24 other Councils, and can be consistently tracked back to 2005 and even earlier. Satisfaction with the CoF fell off a cliff in 2005, and has never recovered. To try something and fail is OK, but to persist year after year after year with something that is clearly failing is just stupidity! Councillors have the results of the survey – what’s the point of continuing to commission these surveys if they just keep going into denial about the results?

    Martin

    • Mark says:

      I think its a case of don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, they have their own agenda residents and rate payers are just a annoyance need to pay for their social experiment, ideology and personal political agendas.

  2. Des Earle says:

    love the post.
    Took your advice and read the link.
    Have to disagree with their report, on their rubbish rating, as it was too high
    The old tip pass system was miles better, this roadside or verge white goods and green collection has left our suburbs looking like a year round rubbish tip, dangerous sharp items as a safety hazards and others as a fire risk?
    Then you have the issues of over flowing bins around our tourist areas as well, not so bad lately possibility due to less people with the cold weather and rain.

    Des

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