About this Survey
The WIA Reform Group decided to conduct a survey in April 2016 to better gauge the opinions of Australian amateurs. The survey was open all amateurs, not just WIA members.
As the WIA conducted its own survey in 2014 it appeared unclear to us what actions the WIA Board had taken since, and what outcomes were being used by the Board to direct decision and policy making.
The only significant activity the Board has performed in the last two years has been the office restructure, and that has been of limited benefit to members. It has cost the Institute a considerable sum of money and there are concerns over the manner in which the project was managed. The WIA Reform Group is hopeful that the new Executive Administrator will settle into his new role and address many of the office issues.
The survey was divided into two sections. The first section was designed to gauge feedback in relation to the membership services provided by the WIA. This includes services like the QSL Bureau, Bookshop, Callsign services, and examination services, Amateur Radio Magazine, Awards and Contests.
The second section was designed to obtain an insight into the broader services provided by the WIA in the areas of government representation and overall management by the Board.
WIA Office & Member Services
Overall, about half of respondents were satisfied with Office and Membership services. Another 30% have had little or no dealings with the office, leaving about 20% who were dissatisfied with the Office. Whilst there were no specific questions directed at office personnel, general comments indicate that most are either satisfied or very satisfied with the new Executive Administrator and Exams Officer.
There is adequate information to suggest that many respondents felt inefficient back-end processes and lack of automation in the office contributed to slow service in some instances (eg. callsigns, repeaters and exams).
A concerning percentage (15%) of respondents complained of receiving no response to queries lodged with the Office. The bookshop was generally well rated.
The majority of respondents felt the WIA needed to do better with its web presence. Only 23% felt the WIA web site was either of high or very high quality and 78% felt that the WIA and Australia Radio Amateurs would benefit from an official WIA social media presence.
The key message here is that the Board needs to rethink its internet and social media policy in order to be more relevant to the current and next generation of radio amateurs. The WIA is simply regarded as irrelevant to many members of the broader community.
WIA Representation and Management
The resounding message is that our Board needs to do a better job.
Overall, 41% of all respondents are either somewhat or very dissatisfied, with a further 27% being neutral in their overall opinion of the WIA. Only 43% of all respondents would recommend WIA membership to a fellow amateur. Analysing WIA members only raised this figure to 62% with 21% being neutral. This should be a major concern for the Board. Surely nearly every member should be an advocate for our WIA?
The WIA Constitution states a key objective of the WIA is “to protect and enhance the privileges of Radio Amateurs”. 55% of all respondents do not believe that the Board is fulfilling this key objective. A further 21% believe the Board is only doing somewhat well.
A majority (62%) believe the Board is not doing a good job of listening to Australian radio amateurs with a further 21% believing it’s only doing somewhat well. This theme is further echoed with 59% reporting that the WIA is not doing well in supporting local clubs or promoting Amateur Radio in their local area. Clearly, communication (full duplex, two-way) is an area this Board needs to address in far greater detail.
Transparency and good governance are supposed to be cornerstones of any well run club or corporation. 53% of WIA members surveyed were either somewhat or very dissatisfied with the Boards communication and transparency. A further 27% were neutral.
On top of this, 82% of those surveyed were concerned about Board members having conflicts of interest. This should sound an alarm to members that some members of the WIA Board are not operating in members best interests.
The above results clearly indicate that the reputation and brand value of the WIA requires some serious attention. The Board needs to address some key cultural and service issues in order to be more inclusive and responsive to community and member expectations.
The full report will be released in the coming days.
The WIA Reform Group thanks all those who took the time to complete the survey. A copy of the final report will be sent to the Board of the WIA.