Completing the community feedback contract: closing the loop

Something that is often neglected when Government organisations consult the community is completion of the process by letting the community know about the results and what will happen next. Too often the participation process finishes to be replaced by silence, often for many months, before a decision emerges.

It was refreshing to see how Broken Hill Council have responded to the community after their first Bang the Table forum about their swimming pool. They have left the link to the site on their website, have posted all the results there and issued the media release that follows. I think this is a simple but excellent way to ensure that the whole community understands how their input is being used and what to expect in the future.

Date: 9 February, 2009

The community’s thoughts and views on the future development of the Broken Hill Regional Aquatic Centre – including entry fees and multi-purpose passes – will form part of the Draft 2009/2014 Management Plan.

For the past two months, Council has sought comment from the community on its Bang The Table site on the cost of entry to the pool and what future facilities and services the community would like to see included at the centre.

The consultation, which took place between November 28, 2008 and January 28 2008, included Council’s first online consultation which attracted 750 unique visitors to the site.

“Council is pleased with the outcome of its first online consultation,” General Manager Frank Zaknich said. “Providing the community with access to online consultation give interested people another opportunity to participate in the planning and consultation process of Council,” Mr Zaknich said.

The consultation received 92 individual comments on four Council posted questions and one posed by a member of the community. Thirty-eight (41.3 per cent) related to the community’s thoughts on the best way to structure the entry fee and appropriate charges. Twenty-six comments (28.3 per cent) related to how recreational swimmers, club swimmers and lap swimmers could share the 25m and 50m pools. There were 12 comments (13 per cent) on what patrons would like to see incorporated in the future

development of the pool if funding becomes available, 14 comments (15.2 per cent) on if the new facility meets the needs of the community and two comments (2.8 per cent) on a question posed by a patron in relation to programming at the pool.

Preference was given to Council making available Individual Season Tickets (30 per cent), Concession Season Tickets (23 per cent) and Family Season Tickets (23 per cent).

Mr Zaknich said the information would be analysed and used to help formulate future plans for the centre.

“Council thanks everyone who participated in the consultation as they have provided significant comments and thoughts that will assist Council to continue to manage the redeveloped facility appropriately,” Mr Zaknich said.

The reports on the consultation are available on Council’s website at Five more online consultations on key aspects of Council’s community and service planning will be held during the next 12 months.

For further information, contact Council General Manager Frank Zaknich.
Ph: 08 8080 3300

Photo Credits: Juli

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