Release Date: 12 February 2013
The results of Stroud District Council's latest annual budget surveys show mixed results. They show significant improvements with the council's performance, although the headline satisfaction figure among residents has fallen from 76% to 67% whilst at the same time, dissatisfaction with the council has fallen to its lowest ever level at 8% (from 11% last year). Satisfaction among the business community is at its highest ever and 89% of residents were also satisfied or very satisfied with their local area as a place to live.
Stroud District Council leader, Geoff Wheeler, said:
'Whilst there has been a drop in resident satisfaction compared to last year, at 67% it still remains high. The decrease in this figure is at odds with the other results in the same survey which show that more people feel that our services have improved and that we are more businesslike and efficient. Our value for money rating has also stayed constant at 61%.'
57% of residents surveyed felt that services had improved, compared to 51% in the previous year, whilst 65% felt that the council was more business-like and efficient - up 5% on the previous year.
Councillor Wheeler added:
'At a time when working with businesses to grow our economy out of recession is so important, we are pleased to see that satisfaction among the business community has risen above 60% for the first time to 63%. More significantly there was a 23% increase in the number of businesses which felt that our services had improved.'
The council's value for money ratings and efficiency ratings with businesses also rose by 11% and 12% respectively.
For local retailers the news was also positive, with 87% saying that they shopped locally, at least once a week - up 2% on the previous year.
As part of the survey residents were asked for their views on increasing council tax. 67% said that it should stay the same, compared to 49% last year. 33% said they would have been happy with an increase of 2% or more, showing a huge drop when compared to 52% in the previous year. Stroud District Council is freezing its portion of council tax bills for the year ahead.
Councillor Wheeler added
'With two-thirds of residents and businesses expressing that they are satisfied with our performance, it is encouraging that we continue to perform well in their eyes. It is clear that our population is being squeezed financially so it is more critical than ever that we strive to provide excellent services and value for money.'
The residents telephone survey was carried out in September 2012. 300 residents were selected at random and interviewed by an independent research company.
Areas covered included:
A business survey was also undertaken with a random sample of 200 local businesses.
The last comparative national statistics for resident satisfaction came from the Government's Place Survey undertaken in 2008. It showed an average satisfaction level of 45% for all councils and a rating of 51% for Stroud District Council - 6% higher. Since then the council's annual independent annual surveys have seen it remain in the sixties with a fillip to 76% last year.