Northern Grampians Shire Council is set to overhaul its community consultation approach in the next 12 months, after a survey found it lags behind the state average for councils in this area.
The municipality has provided the Stawell Times-News with its 2020 Community Satisfaction Survey. This shows ratepayers gave it an overall score of 53, the same as in 2019 and below the state average of 56.
Consultation and engagement, sealed local roads and community decisions were the three areas where the council performed significantly lower than the statewide average.
The one area it saw improvements in was customer service.
"Perceptions of overall performance are most positive among younger residents aged 18 to 34, with significantly higher ratings compared to the Council average," the report said.
"In contrast, ratings among residents of St Arnaud and those aged between 50 to 64 years are significantly lower than the Council average."
Chief executive Liana Thompson labelled the results "disappointing" and "useful".
"Community consultation and engagement is set for a whole new approach over the next 12 months," she said.
"Not just under the new requirements of the Local Government Act 2020 but also because council will be implementing a new council action plan that will provide greater transparency, accountability, and open feedback on our major projects, initiatives and outcomes.
"I want to be clear that while negative results are not what we like to see, they are still very useful for us to focus our work in a targeted way to make sure we are putting our efforts into the areas the community want."
On June 17, Ararat Rural City councillors discussed the results of their survey at an ordinary meeting.
It found the council performed as well or significantly higher than the state-wide and small rural council averages on nearly all service areas.
The report suggested Ararat council consolidate the gains it had made in community consultation for the next 12 months.
"Ararat Rural City Council should focus attention on the individual service areas that most influence perceptions of overall performance and where Council is perceived to perform less well: community consultation and engagement, decisions made in the interest of the community and informing the community," it read in part.