Conferences, Proceedings of the 3rd National Local Government Research Forum

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Community wellbeing indicators: measures for local government
Alan Morton

Last modified: 2013-10-23


This paper presents key findings from a research project undertaken for the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) and the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG). The research project builds on national work undertaken in developing community wellbeing indicators and contributes to enhancing the capacity of councils to plan for, measure and report on the wellbeing of their communities. Whilst the concept has been the focus of research for many years, it has been revitalised by a renewed interest in how community wellbeing might be measured. A key objective of the project was to develop a tool which allows councils to: measure community wellbeing using a number of standard indicators; track changes over time in community wellbeing; benchmark performance against results from comparative surveys in councils across Queensland and elsewhere; and identify policy measures that can improve community outcomes. This paper profiles the process used to develop the survey template, and the results obtained from the state-wide survey using the questionnaire. The utilisation of scores obtained from the survey to develop a valid set of indicators capable of measuring overall community wellbeing is also discussed. The use of a standard questionnaire, as developed by this project, is seen as providing an opportunity to develop benchmarks by council category, and to track performance in enhancing community wellbeing. The paper argues that the use of this survey template enables replication of the research method allowing a valid assessment of community wellbeing. Such performance measures are critical to enhancing governance and general service delivery.

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