Laura Sharman 03 July 2014

People unhappy with how councils target spending, says research

People unhappy with how councils target spending, says research image

People are dissatisfied with the way councils target their spending, with a new survey suggesting town halls are failing to identify local priorities.

The research conducted by Localise, the consumer profiling arm of DJS Research, found that only a quarter of people believe their local council had a good understanding of its residents. Nearly half (43%) felt councils did not target services in a way which best suited them.

When asked to what extent they agreed with the statement ‘my local council focuses its budget on the services which matter most to local people’ only 3% ‘strongly agreed’. Two-fifths (39%) disagreed with the statement, with a quarter agreeing.

The research also found support for councils moving their communications channels to a more online approach, with 52% in favour of this move if savings could be used to fund other services.

Alasdair Gleed, head of Localise and public sector research at DJS Research, said: ‘At a time when local councils are being asked to make large percentage savings year on year, communications channel shifting is something which has the potential to provide a better service at a reduced cost.

‘These findings show that the majority of people are dissatisfied with current council performance, but also that there is a large minority who are unsure how their council performs.

‘This represents an opportunity for councils to look at their communications policies holistically in order to think about how successes can be better communicated, how opinions can be better gathered, and how this can be done cost-effectively to improve services in other areas.’

Participatory budgeting image

Participatory budgeting

Evgeny Barkov explains what participatory budgeting means and how it can reveal what citizens need.
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