Public demand for digital two-way communications with local councils is strong, with more than half of Australians willing to reach out for information if a digital pathway was available.
Polling 2,000 homeowners in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, the Antenna-conducted Datacom survey, which was conducted "to discover how well connected Australians feel to their local government," found that 57 per cent of respondents would engage with local councils more if they could do so digitally, with 67 per cent saying they would opt to use an app to do it.
The survey coincides with the federal government's release of the Data and Digital Government Strategy, which was published last month to outline its vision to deliver public services for people and business through data and digital capabilities.
The biggest opportunity for such a solution was making payments with half of the respondents flagging it as potential idea. Other opportunity areas included submitting and processing permit and license applications, at 41 per cent, and making facility bookings, at 34 per cent.
There is also room for councils to inform their constituents about the facilities and services on offer, with 44 per cent claiming they did not know the full range of services that their council provides.
That being said, the survey also found 73 per cent of respondents find the communications from their local council useful, with 60 per cent finding them to be useful during times of crisis.
“Overall, the survey results show positive levels of engagement between local councils and the Australian communities they are serving. The notable gap is the ability for people to share and receive information from their council in a more immediate way, and for this to be a two-way channel that enables feedback,” says Peter Nelson, Datacom director of local government and managing director of software-as-a-service (SaaS) products.
“Small changes can make a big difference in whether people feel they are being listened to.”