New research from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG) at the University of Technology, Sydney, will assist councils across Australia take a consistent approach to measuring the wellbeing of their communities. The research, ‘Community Wellbeing Indicators: Measures for Local Government’, was conducted in partnership with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) to support a Community Wellbeing Indicators Survey template. The tool can be adapted for use by local governments nationally to measure, analyse and assess the progress of community wellbeing.
LGAQ launched the Community Wellbeing Indicators Project in March 2011 . The Project was aimed at supporting councils in developing ways to better :
- understand and measure local community wellbeing
- build a consistent statistics base
- improve community planning
- strengthen citizen involvement in planning.
LGAQ undertook a community wellbeing indicator pilot survey in 2011 to trial a limited set of wellbeing indicators based on community perceptions, and to demonstrate the value of such an approach to local government.
The five pilot councils were Sunshine Coast, Gladstone, Isaac and Longreach , where a telephone survey was conducted, plus Wujal Wujal, an indigenous community where a small group of community members responded to the questionnaire in a forum group. Attachment D provides the research report from th e pilot survey.
This current research project, jointly sponsored by LGAQ and ACELG, builds on national work undertaken in developing community wellbeing indicators and contributes to the enhanced capacity of Queensland councils to plan for, measure and report on the wellbeing of their communities.
In particular, this research aims to further develop the community wellbeing indicators survey approach used in the pilot project to provide a resource for councils to measure, analyse and assess the level of community wellbeing in a local government area.
A key objective of this research is to formulate a valid set of indicators which:
- provide a general indication of community wellbeing in a particular local government area
- can be benchmarked against results in other council areas.
The project does not seek to identify every possible measure of community wellbeing. Instead, the project aims to develop a practical community survey tool that can be used to assess and monitor community wellbeing within the framework of local community objectives and the context of local government roles and responsibilities.