RBWM RESIDENTS' SURVEY UPDATE - a message from the Council Leader
I would like to thank everyone who took part in the independent survey of residents’ views, attitudes and priorities, over the summer.
As part of this Lake Market Research surveyed 1,740 randomly-selected residents on behalf of the council, with quotas set to achieve a representative sample of the whole borough.
Questions were asked over the phone and face-to-face in the street, covering residents’ perceptions of the council, their local area and communities – both strengths and challenges – alongside residents’ wellbeing, welfare and concerns.
People’s valuable feedback will now be analysed over the coming weeks and will help inform us around planning, decisions and priorities, feeding into a refresh of the Corporate Plan, assisting with measuring progress on some of the Plan’s goals, and furthering the council’s understanding of key issues, including inequalities.
The headline data shows 89 per cent are satisfied with their area as a place to live – well above the Local Government Association national benchmark of 81 per cent. Only 6 per cent of residents are dissatisfied. When asked what makes their area a good place to live, 45 per cent mentioned quality of parks and open spaces, and 34 per cent cited access to nature/the countryside as the top two key factors. The very reasons why we are enhancing green and open space across the Borough, such as Ockwells Park, Battlemead, and consulting on the future of Deerswood Meadow as a park or area for nature.
Overall, there is a strong sense of community, with 72 per cent of respondents agreeing people pull together to improve their local area. Of all those surveyed, 97 per cent feel very or fairly safe outside their local area in the day, 82 per cent after dark, and 75 per cent of women feel safe at night.
Residents' perceptions of the council are above the Local Government Association national benchmark. Of those surveyed, 70 per cent have a fair amount or a great deal of trust in the council, higher than the benchmark of 58 per cent.
In addition, 66 per cent are very or fairly satisfied with the way the council runs things – just above the benchmark of 63 per cent – and 52 per cent feel the council delivers value for money, higher than the benchmark of 45 per cent. Though clearly there is further work to do to improve council services and deliver greater value for money in these difficult economic times.
The top five things that residents would like to see improved in their local area are road maintenance, rubbish and refuse collection, town centres/high streets/shopping facilities, traffic and congestion and parking. Whilst we have driven a significant investment programme in our roads we recognise there is more to do. Likewise on waste we are reaching record levels of recycling in RBWM, but there is further work to do, and on parking there is the potential to expand and enhance the resident discount scheme. Our commissioned Vision for Windsor with the Prince's Foundation and regeneration of Maidenhead and Ascot High Street are seeking to improve the retail and experience offer, and there is an ongoing need to tackle congestion on key routes.
Some 84 per cent agree that tackling climate change should be a key priority for the council and it is for this reason we have established a ground-breaking Climate Partnership with the private and voluntary sectors to drive the change required. When asked about their immediate concerns, cost of living dominates as the top concern, mentioned by 53 per cent of respondents, followed by healthcare access, the environment/climate change and access to affordable housing.
So overall I’m pleased to see the Royal Borough is above the national benchmark, both as a place to live and a council.
At this stage, we are simply making these findings available in a timely and transparent manner. There is of course a lot of detail behind these headline figures and the next stage over the coming weeks is to analyse the data to help inform the Corporate Plan, refresh our performance monitoring, and deliver the change required.
Cllr Andrew Johnson
Leader of the Royal Borough Council