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Residents’ survey reveals satisfaction levels with Council

Published: 01/12/2022
aerial view of Ashford

The 2022 Residents’ Survey indicates that residents’ general views on the council and our performance have stayed broadly consistent. Satisfaction levels with key services remains high and efforts to improve community safety and communication with residents appear to have been effective.

The survey, which took place over the summer, asked residents for their views regarding the council and specific service areas, their local area and other topical questions.

Feedback on the council’s response to the pandemic was positive and residents were generally happy with our digitalisation efforts. The continued importance of accessible in person options for older and digitally excluded residents was also made clear.

Areas for improvement include residents continuing to feel they have little influence over council decisions whilst development and car parking provision in the borough remain areas where residents were less satisfied.

Key highlights included:

  • A large majority of residents were satisfied with their local area as a place to live (78%).
  • Overall, 63% agreed that they had pride in their local area, whilst 44% indicated that they felt a part of their local community.
  • Older residents and residents in rural areas were more likely to give a positive response to these questions than younger residents and residents in urban areas.
  • Overall, residents agreed that the council had supported the community well during the Coronavirus pandemic, with only 12% disagreeing.
  • A majority of residents indicated that they were satisfied with how Ashford Borough Council runs its services (59%).
  • However, only 38% of residents agreed that the council provided value for money, a decrease from 47% in 2018.
  • 90% of residents were satisfied with waste collection in the borough, whilst parks, play areas and general cleanliness also receiving positive ratings.
  • 42% of residents indicated that they were dissatisfied with development.
  • 30% indicated they were dissatisfied with car parking and many older residents felt uncomfortable with using the Ringo parking app.
  • Community safety was a key issue for many residents, with 74% indicating that it was one of the most important things in making somewhere a good place to live.
  • A majority of residents indicated that they felt well informed about services and benefits provided by the council (58%).
  • Communication with residents in the most deprived postcodes appears particularly improved, with 65% saying they felt well informed, up from 39% in 2020.
  • Residents were most likely to consult the council’s website and ‘Ashford for You’ magazine when looking for information about the council. Residents indicated that they would prefer more information through social media and letters or leaflets.

The results will also be used by services for the purpose of continuous improvement. We continue to monitor performance of services through our quarterly performance report which will be monitored against areas identified in the survey.

The survey was conducted to gather the views of our local residents from a statistically valid sample. The results indicate that generally performance is consistent with previous years which, given external factors such as the pandemic as well as political and economic instability, is a positive outcome.

Cllr Peter Feacey, portfolio holder for policy and performance, said: The residents’ survey has provided the council with valuable insight into the views of local residents about their local areas and the services they receive from Ashford Borough Council.

“We have listened carefully to what residents have said and will act to make improvements, particularly in areas where satisfaction is lower. It is pleasing that Ashford continues to perform well against national and regional benchmarks.”

The full report and findings are available to view online under agenda item 13.