Objective: Detailed look at the results of the residents’ survey, including benchmarking against the last results in 2019.
Darren Knight (Executive Director Place and Communities)
Darren Knight (Executive Director Place and Communities) (DK) introduced the report and gave a presentation on the background, results and implications of the residents’ survey. He was broadly pleased with the results, noting that although overall satisfaction was relatively low, the most common reason for this was highways, which were not a CBC responsibility. The survey gave a good overall sense of where things were at, and would tie in with the Corporate Plan going to Council on 20th February.
The Chair moved into Member questions and debate:
- One Member asked whether respondents were able to provide suggestions or just a rating. DK confirmed it was the latter, but they did also ask people what they would change. The next survey would use more open-ended questions.
- One Member asked how residents felt about the town at night, and how this compared to other places across the country. DK responded that there was not yet comprehensive national data on this.
- One Member praised the use of objective, empirical data to take residents’ concerns into account, and asked whether the results could be shared with the county council. DK confirmed that they already had been, and officers like the Director of Community & Economic Development were in regular dialogue with GCC about issues like the High Street paving and highway maintenance.
- One Member echoed the need for close county involvement, noting that heavily parked roads limited the effectiveness of cleaning equipment, while temporary parking restrictions would allow proper street and drain cleaning to take place.
- One Member noted the contradiction between residents wanting more services and a below inflation council tax increase at the same time. Expanded services had to be funded somehow, and the government had cut the revenue support grant.
- One Member highlighted the importance of residents feeling safe in the town. DK agreed, and explained that licensing and environmental health officers were working on a review looking closely at how best to deliver this. There were always ways to improve the services the council provided residents.
- One Member noted that throughout the survey, disabled residents generally reported lower satisfaction levels. It was worth looking more closely at this, although there were obviously GDPR concerns. Roughly a quarter of the population had some form of disability, often linked to long-term health conditions, so it was important to consider how to be as inclusive as possible going forward. DK thanked them for raising an important point, and there was clearly more work needed to understand the scale and implications of this. Another Member added that the council did some good work in reaching out to disability groups, for example as part of its consultations on private hire vehicles.
- One Member noted that the Local Government Association (LGA) were doing their own satisfaction survey, and alignment with this could be valuable. DK agreed that the council could collaborate with the LGA in order to compare their own results with the detailed national picture.
- One Member advocated dialogue and cooperation in order to ensure a good working relationship between the county and borough councils.
- One Member highlighted the need to consider the methodology used when sampling residents, in order to ensure robust and reliable data.
- One Member suggested that the survey lacked some granularity, and noted a high number of reporting errors on the online survey, which made it hard to make a real comparison with the telephone survey. DK agreed that the online portal’s respondents were self-selecting, but it did give residents who weren’t part of the representative sample to contribute.
- One Member highlighted prospects for young people as an essential area in which Cheltenham was currently struggling. Another Member agreed, and suggested that encouraging young people, especially girls, to think about careers in cyber and technology could help to keep them in the town.
The Chair thanked the Executive Director Place and Communities for the detailed survey and presentation.
- 2023_01_31_O&S_2022 Independent Resident Satisfaction Survey_discussion paper, item 9. PDF 307 KB
- 2023_01_31_O&S_2022 Independent Resident Satisfaction Survey_appendix 1_full survey, item 9. PDF 1 MB