Councils will now be able to gauge their residents' perception of their local area, crime and community cohesion and compare satisfaction rates directly with other local authorities, thanks to new guidance being issued today.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, and London Councils – the body which represents London's 33 local authorities – have launched ‘Are you being served?', a guidance document containing a standard set of resident satisfaction questions and outlining the steps that should be taken to ensure the results can be compared with those of other local authorities.
The guidance is designed to suit local circumstances and minimise the cost to councils of collecting the data. It does this by allowing councils to use only those questions that are of interest locally, and fit these questions in with existing survey plans.
Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement Board, said:
"Being able to compare resident satisfaction rates against similar local authorities is good for local people, councillors and council workers. It will help boost transparency and strengthen accountability.
"Getting to the bottom of what residents think about local services is a key part of working out whether or not you're doing a good job and plays a vital role in improving the services you provide. Placed alongside cost and performance information, it is also a vital tool in helping prioritise work and resources."
Gillian Norton, Chair of the Self Improvement Board at London Councils, said:
"Councils want as much feedback as possible from local people about what life is like in their boroughs as they work to achieve self-improvement. I believe the work done by the LGA and London Councils, used consistently, will enable councils to compare progress and results."
Notes to editors
The guidance is available below:
The guidance is based on the findings of a review by Ipsos MORI, which identified a set of conditions that would need to be met to ensure that any comparisons being made are robust, fair and valid, and that each council's data is of a good quality that will stand up to scrutiny. The criteria were then refined on the basis of an extensive consultation with local authorities.
Following this guidance is completely voluntary. Those councils that do will be able to make reasonable, ‘fit for purpose' comparisons of their results with those of others. Local Government Inform (LG Inform) will provide the mechanism by which councils can undertake these comparisons.
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Dale Atkinson, Local Government Association Media Office, Telephone: 020 7664 3333
27 September 2012