The first half of 2020 was unlike anything councils have had to face in recent memory. Already tightened budgets have come under increasing pressure, and a huge amount of responsibility has been put into the hands of council decision makers.
Local Authorities across the country are working hard for their constituents, providing essential services and support during this unprecedented time, and the contribution of Councils to the COVID-19 response is well-recognised. In our recent survey of MPs for the LGA, 82 per cent of parliamentarians say that local government has played a key role in the response to COVID-19. Given the fast-changing situation and greater need for council services, understanding the perceptions of stakeholders, including residents, businesses and at-risk groups, has never been more important.
Opinion research gives Local Authorities a powerful tool to make effective, dynamic decisions, and gives a voice to the individuals that will ultimately be affected by them. Data and insight allow us to cut through the noise to understand the thoughts of residents, businesses, and legislators. Where discussions on social media and news outlets can create a lot of noise and hyperbole, data can get to the heart of the issue. Well-designed research allows decision makers to find progressive solutions.
A piece of research can be a powerful tool when faced with a complex problem involving multiple stakeholders. Research that is focused on meeting objectives allows Local Authorities across the country to arm themselves with the information they need to make decisions that have a direct impact on local people. The opportunity to have the voices of those that will be affected, or of those that can facilitate policy decisions, in the room with you while you make these critical decisions should not be missed.