Are you being served? Benchmarking residents’ perceptions of local government

Question set and guidance

Understanding resident's views is a key element of assessing the effectiveness of an authority, alongside cost and performance information. Furthermore, understanding resident satisfaction and being able to make informed comparisons can strengthen local accountability and be a key part of the sector's approach to managing its own performance.

This document outlines a set of resident satisfaction, crime and cohesion questions that councils can choose to use in their local surveys, and guidance on the conditions that must be met to enable the results to be benchmarked against other authorities who follow the same approach:



This is a flexible approach, designed to suit local circumstances and minimise the cost to councils of collecting the data. The approach allows councils to use only those questions that are of interest locally and to fit these questions in with existing survey plans, while also helping to maximise the benefit and insight that can be gained from this data by making it broadly comparable.

LG Inform will provide the mechanism by which councils can undertake these comparisons. LG Inform is a free data and benchmarking service from the LGA to provide easy access for local authority staff, councillors and the public, to key data about their council and its area. For more information and to register, click here.

Submitting results for benchmarking in LG Inform

We are now accepting uploads of completed resident satisfaction survey results, for surveys that have followed the ‘Are you being served' guidance.

Please click here to request a unique link to the upload form.

The form is similar to an online survey and involves going through and ticking boxes to confirm that the various quality criteria have been met, and then writing in the total number of respondents that selected each answer option for each question.

The upload timetable is as follows:

  • data submitted between 1 September and 30 November 2018 will go live in LG Inform by 31 December 2018

  • data submitted between 1 December 2018 and 29 February 2019 will go live in LG Inform by 31 March 2019

  • data submitted between 1 March and 31 May 2019 will go live in LG Inform by 30 June 2019

  • data submitted between 1 June and 31 August 2019 will go live in LG Inform by 30 September 2019

  • this upload pattern will continue in the same manner through 2019 and onwards.

Once data is made live in LG Inform, all local authority registered users will be able to view it.

Public access to data submitted for benchmarking in LG Inform

The most recent data is only available to local authority users of LG Inform. Public access to the data will be granted one year after the end of the financial year for which data relates. Therefore, public access to 2016/17 results and earlier are now available, whilst public access to 2017/18 results will be granted on 31 March 2019.

You are, of course, free to publish your own results publicly on your own site whenever you choose. However, LG Inform will only make the data publically available in accordance with the above schedule. Freedom of Information requests received by the LGA for pre-release of the data you have submitted as part of this exercise will be refused, applying the exemption set out in section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, namely: "information is intended for future publication".


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.

This document summarises and addresses the key issues raised by consultees and explains the changes that have been made to the guidance as a result of the consultation:

The consultation is now closed, however the consultation document can be accessed here for information:

The background report from Ipsos MORI can be found here:

Further information

If you have a query on any aspect of this guidance, please email

Please first check the LG Inform Knowledge Hub group wiki, which includes a record of questions that other councils have asked and our response to them. Register and access the group at