Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There's something wrong with Market Dimensions' City of Vancouver Budget Survey Report

In preparation for a discussion re the forthcoming City of Vancouver budget deliberations on Bill Good's CKNW Civic Affairs Panel, I decided to read the Budget Survey Report commissioned by the city. I was suprised by some of the statements in the Executive Summary.

For example, on page 7, the Exec Summary says residents think the city should pay more attention to green projects or infrastructure....including placing charging stations in public areas for electric vehicles. For the life of me, I couldn't believe that Vancouver residents thought this was something warranting further attention. So I started to plow through the detailed statistics in the appendix, but never found any clear support for this. But more importantly,

On page 4 it says "after a declining trend in the past two surveys, signs of recovery are evident in residents' perceptions about the change in quality of city services. While 28.1% see a decline, 37.1% think the quality has improved.....

HOWEVER, at the top of page 61, the detailed survey results show that 46% say things are worse or much worse. In fact, whereas during the past 11 years only 4% to 8% said things were much worse, this year 35% said things were much worse. 35%! And yet this is completely ignored in the Executive Summary.

I think there is something wrong with the Executive Summary of this report, and I invite people to review the document themselves and let me know if I am mistaken. And if I am not wrong, then I would like to know why a professional firm would present such a distorted view to the public and City staff and Council. You can find the document at http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20101130/documents/rr1_appendix2.pdf


frank schliewinsky said...

the last column (2011) of the table showing the rating for quality of service is likely in error. trends don't change that drastically and the other measures of satisfaction don't support the validity of these results

A. G. Tsakumis said...

its not only wrong...theyre full of it--that much is clear.

Neale Adams said...

Yes there is something screwy about the table you highlight, Michael. For another thing, there are no "no opinion" responses, while there were every other years.
But the basic problem, it seems to me, is the very small sample size. Although percentages throughout the report are reported to a tenth of one per cent, the small sample size does not back up that level of accuracy. And for many tables the sample size is split even further. If the survey were carried out perfectly (not likely to have happened), accuracy is plus or minus 4.2 per cent for the resident survey, 6.1 per cent for the business. Except for the screwy result, all you can really say from the survey is that the opinions of Vancouver residents and business owners really don't change much, year after year, no matter whether the NPA, COPE, Vision, or whoever has the council majority. I'd say this survey is a bit of a waste of money.

Michael Geller said...

thanks for your comments...I too agree. The study was a waste of money, particularly since there are so many inconsistencies, and it is riddled with errors.

Will someone please tell the Director of Finance! Get a reduction on the bill. (I'm sure someone will FOI it to ensure we do get an appropriate rebate!)

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