Central Hawke's Bay District Council

Greater community input informs council's long-term planning process


Central Hawke's Bay District Council


Local Government

Using Customer Voice from AskYourTeam helped Central Hawke’s Bay District Council (CHBDC) develop a much better understanding of community needs to inform its long-term plan, and generate significantly more responses than the previous year.

No visibility of community satisfaction and expectations ahead of long-term planning cycle

In 2016 CHBDC embarked on an ambitious journey to consult with the local community on their long-term goals for the district. Every three years, councils must complete a long-term plan that sets out priorities and projects for the next three years, and consult with the community on it. 

Project Thrive is now the backbone of Council and provides the strategic direction behind the significant investment in people and infrastructure to support the growth and aspirations of the district.

Insights to guide council activities – for quick wins and longer term gains 

Instead of making assumptions about what the community wanted for the long term plan period, and getting it wrong, CHBDC took the radical step of asking the community ahead of completing the plan.

"It was fundamental that we got key feedback to understand what services our community would like us to provide, and what council can afford to provide" says Lisa Harrison, Customer Experience and Relationships Manager. 

"The survey not only helped CHBDC inform the long-term plan, but also actions that could be taken immediately for quick wins" says Lisa.

Analysing the feedback, especially free text comments gave council the opportunity to better understand community needs and pain points, addressing issues such as potholes that required little or no investment, but that were high on “niggle factor”. 

Significantly greater participation - community voice comes through loud and clear

Customer Voice gave CHBDC a good snapshot around what the community wants to see, and the increase in participation rate – up 30% on the year before – was highly valued by the Mayor and Councillors, says Lisa.

“They saw it as the community’s voice being heard a lot clearer about what areas were doing well, and what weren’t.”

The community saw a direct connection between feedback and council’s actions, and CHBDC were able to show that they were listening and taking customer feedback seriously, and in the process build their standing and reputation with community.

"What we’ve learned is Customer Voice is a great tool to connect with and gather data from our community. We plan to do focused surveys throughout the year so we can provide feedback to our customers on how we are doing" says Lisa.