Victoria governance review shows high dissatisfaction among respondents

Victoria governance review shows high dissatisfaction among respondents

The overwhelming majority of people responding to a survey on how they feel about the City of Victoria’s governance and its effectiveness expressed dissatisfaction with the job elected officials are doing.

A consultant’s report on the city’s governance, which the city itself requested two years ago, contains 111 pages of feedback from respondents on how they perceive council.

Of the 881 people who completed the survey — which was conducted through an online portal — 81 per cent said they were either very dissatisfied (60%) or dissatisfied (21%) with the city’s governance.

Thirteen per cent of respondents said they were satisfied and four per cent said very satisfied, while two per cent of people said they weren’t sure.

Among the other findings:

  • 77% of respondents disagreed (31%) or strongly disagreed (46%) that matters considered by council were dealt with efficiently
  • 73% disagreed (22%) or strongly disagreed (51%) that public input is considered in council’s decisions
  • 68% disagreed (21%) or strongly disagreed (47%) that council makes decisions based on what they believe is in the best interest of the city
  • 82% disagreed (21%) or strongly disagreed (61%) that council ensures the city is focused on the right things

Frequent comments that came up among respondents were that councillors appear to make decisions on “personal agendas” or stray into matters beyond personal jurisdiction.

As for efficiency, respondents commented they felt council meetings were “overly long” in part due to councillors spending too much time on “administrative details, grandstanding endless debate and veering off-course.”

The report contains 30 recommendations aimed at improving efficiency and public participation, including:

  • establishing a code of conduct and appointing an integrity commissioner
  • evaluating council appointments to external boards and committees
  • keeping council remuneration at its current level
  • reviewing the purpose of the weekly Thursday morning Committee of the Whole meetings

The report did say some of council’s practices are consistent or leading the way compared to other cities, noting it makes “deliberate efforts” to support equity and inclusion and is committed to reconciliation. The report also lauded the city’s support of a rapid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full report and survey results here.


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