How do residents value the council’s discretionary services?
The council wanted to engage with residents to help define the budget priorities for its services over the next few years. Faced with a reduction in government funding, we want to make sure we understand how local people value specific services and how changing or reducing any of our non-statutory services would impact on the community.
An independent market research company was commissioned to conduct face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 600 residents. All Waverley residents were invited to complete the same survey online, and over 750 did so.
The council would like to sincerely thank all of our residents who generously gave up their time to take part in either the face-to-face or the online survey. Your participation has been instrumental in helping us improve our understanding of our residents' spending priorities.
Awareness that councils face challenging budget pressures
69% of respondents were either very aware (28%) or somewhat aware (41%).
Service priorities and budget savings
The survey used two approaches to ascertain residents’ views about services. In the first, six services were compared and ranked on a scale of 1 (most valued) to 6 (least valued). An average score was then calculated for each, which indicated that street cleaning, maintaining parks and open spaces and environmental health were valued more highly than planning enforcement, grants to voluntary organisations and maintenance of road verges.
In the second, respondents were shown how 100 ‘cost points’ were currently spread across the same six services and then asked to achieve 20 points of savings. Responses from this exercise were broadly consistent with priority order from the first.
77% of respondents supported increasing investment to generate income. 30% supported increasing car park charges and 25% supported increasing Council Tax by the maximum permitted level.
You can download a full report showing all questions and a breakdown of the responses.
Why did we do this?
The survey was designed to inform the work of the Value for Money and Customer Service Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The committee has considered various options available to the council to meet the budget shortfall projected over the next four years, and has used the results to help understand what the public’s relative priorities are.
What will be done with the results?
The working group has produced its report having considered the results and all councillors have been briefed. The results are important to enable the Medium Term Financial Plan to be informed by residents’ views.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has made recommendations to the Executive, who will then decide what, if any action take.
Page owner: Ian Mackie. Last updated: 29/01/2020 08:53