Councils delivering but not communicating?

Overall satisfaction with local councils is now creeping upwards, although shrinking council comms budgets may have resulted in a growing perception that councils are failing to take account of residents' views.

Public view: Councils like Glasgow were assessed in the survey
Public view: Councils like Glasgow were assessed in the survey

A survey by LGInsight into public perception of councils shows that nearly 67 per cent of adults are satisfied with the performance of their local council.

This is an increase from January when LGInsight, the research arm of LGComms, measured satisfaction at 62 per cent. However, this remains below the 69 per cent mark councils achieved last October.

Meanwhile, the perception that councils take account of residents' views is down from last October's 47 per cent to just 40 per cent.

LGInsight chair Neil Wholey said the general freezing of council comms budgets, and in particular the cancellation of many council newspapers, may be to blame.

'When people are looking for more engagement with their local authority, it comes at the worst time for councils to spend money on comms,' said Wholey. 'Council publications have been cut in order to make a cost saving, but they are also a good source of information. It could be a factor.'

The research showed that while a good amount of residents are now well-informed about council services (60 per cent), fewer are aware of what local councillors do (38 per cent) and even fewer know how the council makes decisions (27 per cent) and what the role of the chief executive is (19 per cent). Perceptions of value for money are down five points since last October, to 46 per cent.

Populus carried out the survey of 1,000 GB adults in June.

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