Two years on

This special full colour national edition of FOCUS marks our second birthday as a national publication. 1997 was another great year. Coverage included a variety of issues impacting on Local Government, some new, some perennial, as well as best practice examples demonstrating how Councils, large and small, city and rural, are striving to deliver optimum service to their communities.

Once again we featured national Conferences staged by peak Local Government bodies and a number of State and Territory wide forums. As well as reporting on key issues raised at such gatherings, these are important exercises for FOCUS providing opportunities to network with elected members and Council managers helping to ensure a quality product, every edition.

Our Website continues to attract some 3,000 hits per month. We are regularly receiving hits from people overseas keen to learn more about Local Government in Australia. The introduction of our Online Focus Forum late last year, enables readers and Web users to comment directly on specific issues we are covering. There is also the opportunity to start a dialogue on any other issue you have an interest in.

Our recent Reader Survey resulted in 263 returned questionnaires. In the December edition, we analysed separate results for our Gold and Green editions.

The following provides a combined or national analysis. Elected representatives returned 128 (48.7%) surveys, while 117 (44.5%) were provided by Council Officers. The remaining 18 (6.8%) were from subscribers, advertisers, representatives of peak bodies or academics.

Some 76% of respondents said they read FOCUS regularly, while a further 22% said they read it sometimes. In assessing the publication for its presentation, coverage of issues, best practice examples and 'overall', in all cases over three quarters of respondents rated FOCUS as 'Excellent' or 'Good'. Looking at any variation in responses from Green and Gold readers, the main difference was in the breakdown of readership.

For the Green edition, 42% of respondents were elected members and 48% Officers, with 10% other. For the Gold edition, a larger proportion of respondents were elected members (57%), with 40% Council officers and 3% other. We will be introducing a number of changes as a result of suggestions received to ensure FOCUS continues to keep you up to date with what's happening in Local Government around the nation. Best wishes for 1998.