Section 1: Our survey support

The LGA provides a range of different support services to help you understand resident satisfaction in your area and compare results at a regional and national level.

At a local level

To help you understand the views of your communities we have developed Are You Being Served? – a set of free, high-quality guidance notes and questions that all councils can use. Are You Being Served? has been developed in partnership by the LGA and Ipsos MORI and includes questions on six key themes, all of which can impact a council’s reputation. The six themes are:

  • satisfaction with the local area
  • satisfaction with the way the council runs things
  • trust in the council
  • responsiveness of the council
  • how informed residents feel
  • their perception of the value for money the council provides.

The questions have designed to be flexible to suit local circumstances and reduce the cost of collecting data. You are free to use all of the questions or just those that are of interest locally. You can download the questions for your own use here.

If you use the Are You Being Served? questions and follow the methodology set out in the guidance notes, you will be able to benchmark your results. This means that you will be able to compare your performance against other councils who have also followed the Are You Being Served? approach. You will only be able to accurately compare your results with other councils if you follow the guidelines exactly.

To see how your results compare you will need to upload your data to LG Inform – the LGA’s online performance database. We can accept data collected by telephone, post, online or face-to-face, as long as your survey has followed the ‘Are You Being Served?’ guidelines. Once your data has been uploaded you will receive your benchmarked results in a ready-made report.

You may not always have the time or resources to run a resident survey in line with our Are You Being Served? guidelines, or may want to ask different questions. You can of course still do this, but you will not be able to accurately compare your results to those held on the LG Inform database.

If you are using another survey method or question set, we would still advise you to survey a large enough, random sample of people to represent your diverse population. We recommend a minimum of approximately 500 people to give you an effective perspective of the overall views of your general population, while also still providing you with the opportunity to conduct some more detailed analysis of the different groups within that population (for example analysing results by gender or broad age brackets). Your in-house research team, or survey supplier, will be able to offer advice on how best to get a random, representative sample for your area.

There may also be occasions where other types of sampling are more appropriate. For example, you might want to survey a particular group of residents. You can find advice on how to target your surveys to specific groups in our section on targeted surveys.

If you need to conduct a survey quickly, or with limited resources, you may wish to consider a less representative method of finding out resident views, such as conducting face-to-face surveys in town centres. It is important to note that the results from this survey work may not be statistically robust and will not be fully comparable to other surveys, but may provide a snapshot of how a selection of people surveyed at that time feel about specific issues.

Find out more about benchmarking local resident satisfaction survey results

Commissioning local resident satisfaction surveys
If your council is looking to conduct a resident satisfaction survey we can help you to find polling companies that are familiar with our Are You Being Served? guidance and will be able to run surveys that comply with our benchmarking criteria. View our list of research companies

At a regional and national level

Three times a year, the LGA runs a national poll of 1,000 British adults to track resident satisfaction with councils. This is designed to complement councils’ local work to provide a quarterly picture of residents’ views across the country.

The national polling uses the same questions that are in the Are You Being Served? guidelines, meaning that councils who adopt this same approach will be able to directly compare their results to the a national picture.

We publish the results of the national polling three times a year, and you can read the full set of national results recorded since September 2012.

Regional data is also available, so that you can see how your results compare to councils within your specific part of the country. Regional data is available for the most recent financial year and is made up of three waves to provide adequate regional sample sizes. Regional results are then weighted to bring them more in line with what is known about each population in terms of gender, age and social economic status.