70% satisfied with the performance of their local council
The Municipal Journal reports (£) that there is a 70% satisfaction rate with the performance of local councils, according to a Populus poll for LG Communications.
This is up fractionally from 68% at the end of last year, and up rather more on 62% in January last year, when there was concern in a lot of places about ice on roads and pavements not being gritted enough.
Those who believe their council provides value for money is up from 46% to 51%.
Of course all these figures vary widely according to individual local authorities.
Given the sharp spending cuts that councils (unlike central Government) have coped with, the satisfaction rating is pretty impressive.
A big factor helping the score is sure to be that, overwhelmingly, councils signed up to the deal to freeze Council Tax.
The full survey is here. In Wales where the Council Tax has been going up, the satisfaction rating is 62% and the value for money rating is 42% - both markedly lower than in England and Scotland. Of course, the sample size becomes smaller when you break it down in this way. But Welsh local government does have the lowest satisfaction rating for Great Britain. I suspect that this is not just a sampling fluke. (South east England has the highest at 77%).
In an analysis Neil Wholey says:
Satisfaction with street cleansing has gone from 67% to 73% between January 2011 and now. Refuse collection satisfaction has gone from 73% to 85% over the same period. The polling on service satisfaction started in January 2011 which was a low point in service delivery due to the problems in quickly removing ice and the disruption this caused to services. Therefore councils have recovered since then and shown improved resilience as time has progressed.
There are continued problems with satisfaction with road maintenance, with only 40% of the public thinking that standards are satisfactory, and is an obvious area for improvement if councils are to better meet the needs of their residents. Pavement maintenance is rated slightly higher at 52% and is therefore another area for improvement.
Despite some high profile library closures in the country as a whole, satisfaction with the library service has actually risen.
The big message from the poll is that the doom-mongers who claimed that spending cuts "inevitably" meant service cuts have been confounded. Most councils, although by no means all, have coped well with the cuts, managing to maintain or improve the services that matter to their residents.