2012 Residents Opinion Survey

Wednesday 13 June 2012, 12:04PM
By Dunedin City Council


One way the Council gauges the views of the "silent majority" is through the annual Residents’ Opinion Survey, or ROS.

The Council has been undertaking the ROS since 1994 and by giving expression to all sectors and areas of the community it has become a valuable tool for guiding its decision-making process and prioritising expenditure.

The ROS survey focuses on service delivery and effectiveness, and asks questions about people's perceptions of the Council's performance.

The ROS survey is also a crucial part of the Council's performance monitoring.  Most DCC departments have customer service and other performance targets in their Activity Management Plans which they are required to meet every year.  A lot of the set targets come from the ROS survey results.

In addition, there are also quality measures in the Long Term Plan which emanate from the ROS results.

Changes made as a result of Residents’ Opinion Surveys

Not only do the ROS results help the Council measure its performance, but the results also show us areas where we can make further improvements.

For example, in 2010 the ROS showed relatively low satisfaction with 'the amount of public consultation undertaken' by the Council.  The Council is making significant efforts to improve its performance in this area and this was reflected in the results from the 2011 ROS.

Examples of the Council's continued focus on improving its consultation include:

    * Drafting a community engagement and consultation policy which should be completed by the end of the year
    * Reviewing and restructuring all of the Council's marketing and communications activities to help improve the quality and scope of information disseminated by the Council
    * Jointly developing a new collaborative Draft Economic Development Strategy for the City
    * Using a range of methods to canvass stakeholders' opinions on the Draft Spatial Plan
    * Undertaking significant community consultation and engagement to develop the South Dunedin Retail Centre Revitalisation Plan, and in particular improvements to King Edward Street

The Council has also continued, and stepped up, its efforts to improve the suitability of the road network for cyclists which is another area that has consistently received low satisfaction ratings in the ROS survey.

For example the Council has:

    * Developed plans for a Strategic Cycle Network and included funding in the Long Term Plan allocating $1.5 million each year for the next three years and $350,000 each year thereafter
    * Included funding in the Long Term Plan to complete a continuous cycleway between Portsmouth Drive and Harington Point
    * Working with the Otago Tunnels Trust to investigate and potentially implement the opening of the Caversham Tunnel to pedestrians and cyclists;
    * Completed cycleway connections around the Forsyth Barr Stadium, the harbour front and Anzac Ave and preparing to install cycle lanes along Anderson's Bay road in the 2012/13 year
    * The installation of 65 cycle stands in around 20 locations around the city
    * Updating the Council's cycle map/leaflet outlining commuting routes and tracks across the city

The New Zealand Transport Agency has also approved funding to complete the shared path between the city and Port Chalmers over the next three years after lobbying from the Council.

Method and Timeline

4,500 surveys will be posted to randomly selected residents on 15 June 2012.  The survey will also be available online at

Providing an online survey allows all Dunedin residents to have their say and gives residents who receive the mailed questionnaire another method of completing the survey.

To ensure the statistical validity of the survey results, the responses from residents who were randomly selected to complete the survey are used as the official survey results.

Responses from residents who independently chose to complete the survey online are analysed separately but also provide the Council with an extremely valuable source of information.

For example the Council gathers a lot of valuable ideas for improving its services and the city from residents' responses to the open ended questions contained in the survey.  The more residents that complete the survey, the more ideas it receives.

Last year, 899 people responded to the survey after receiving a posted questionnaire and a further 67 people independently responded to the online survey.

All surveys, including the online survey, need to be completed by Tuesday, 10 July.  The results will be analysed by Research First, an independent research company based in Christchurch, who is conducting the survey on behalf of the Council.

The results will be available to the general public in mid-late August 2012 and will be posted on the Council website.