The Municipality of North Grenville has developed a survey which will be provided to clients by which they can comment on the quality of service they have received in their dealings with municipal staff. The concept of the survey has been known and used in the private sector for some time now, but this will be the first time clients of the municipality will have the opportunity to comment in an official and confidential way.
The need for such a survey has been known for years. Dealings with the Planning and Development Department had been plagued by vague and contradictory direction from municipal staff, and it was generally accepted by local businesses that the process for acquiring building permits, site plan agreements, or zoning changes, for example, took far too long and had led, at times, to the cancellation of projects that would have brought valuable investment to the community.
The new draft client satisfaction survey will be sent out to members of the NG Home Builders Association (NG HBA) in the next week or so. The project has been an initiative of the NG HBA and the municipal Council, particularly Mayor Nancy Peckford and Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman. The two have met with the HBA recently, and the discussions were both frank and fruitful.
The HBA represents 14 home building companies and has six associate members from related companies. Corey Lockwood and Robert Noseworthy represented the HBA in talks with municipal staff, Nancy and Jim, and presented the idea of the survey. One aspect of the survey which the HBA emphasised was the need for confidentiality for clients in their survey responses.
There has, unfortunately, been a reluctance on the part of local business people to express their complaints to staff, as they feared retaliation when it came to requesting future permits from the Planning Department. To counter this, it is planned to have all Client Satisfaction Survey responses submitted through the HBA directly to Nancy Peckford, and not staff. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor will pass on the comments to staff without identifying the respondent.
The details of the survey have not yet been published, but it marks a new and more efficient stage in the relationship between the Municipality and local business, and will be a welcome solution to a long-standing problem.