Citizens’ Panel Performance and Attitudes Survey 2016
The results of the latest Citizens’ Panel 2016 Performance and Attitudes Survey were reported to the Highland Council.
This year 1084 responses were received providing a 46.3% response rate. Overall the survey presents a picture of mixed performance and demonstrates that we continue to deliver quality services which are valued by the public.
The top four most important services for the public are road repairs and potholes, winter road maintenance, refuse/bin collection and parks and open spaces.
The majority of respondents reported that the Council maintains good quality local services, listens to local people, provides value for money and is efficient.
The highest positive satisfaction scores are found for refuse collection, walking routes, parks and open spaces and libraries. Respondents reported improved performance in a number of areas including pre-school services, school transport, services to protect children from harm, cycle paths and the Housing information advice service.
Areas where respondents perceived declining performance included; road repairs and pot holes, Council service points, street lighting and street cleaning. Overall satisfaction with councils services decreased from 83% in 2014/15 to 73% in the latest survey.
This year we asked new questions about online services. Overall 75.1% said they were very or fairly satisfied with online services and 75% agreed that these are easy to use and 85% said they would use them again. Highland Council now provides 91 online forms and we now see around 11,500 online transactions per month.
Chief Executive Steve Barron said: “The results of the survey provide important feedback to us about what the Highland public think about council services. There is a high confidence level in the results, but we are aware they are less representative of the views of young people.
“The report is very detailed and presents a mixed picture, with some improvement and some declining satisfaction. The decline in the overall satisfaction rate is a reflection of reducing budgets. It is clear that with further cuts projected for the next three years, current service provision is unaffordable. This means we need to place emphasis on redesign and listening to the public and look at how we can provide fewer services well into the future. We cannot continue to maintain good quality local services, with a greatly reduced budget, if we do everything we do now.”
Leader of the council Margaret Davidson said: “I would like to thank members of the Citizens’ Panel for their participation and their views. This is extremely useful and valuable information. We want to provide the best possible quality of services and to treat people fairly across the Highlands. We are facing enormous challenges into the future and will need to redesign our services around what is really important to people. We can only do this by listening to communities and prioritising a smaller number of services and doing these well. We will also need to discuss with communities the things which they can do locally themselves and support them to do this.”
She continued: “I do not want to lose sight of the excellent work which has been done to achieve the continued good performance across the Council and I wish to thank staff for the important part they play in delivering these services.”