APSE has recently worked with Survation on a survey looking at attitudes to neighbourhood services amongst the general public. Paul Smith, Director of Government & Public Sector at Survation, examines the results of the survey, and what they mean for local councils.
Public opinion is clear. It is common sense that local public services must be provided directly by the local council and they should provide the services people want in their local area.
The results of research conducted over two years by Survation on behalf of APSE consistently show:
• People trust Councils and Councillors more;
• Want more of their taxes allocated to Councils to spend locally;
• A net positive rating for Council services despite cuts.
This article sets out the extent of public support for the provision of local public services by the Council.
Public ownership is back!
While media and political commentators have only just caught up with the public, Survation’s polling has consistently shown for many years that the public see privatised services as costing more and providing less.
When it comes to essential public services that are vital to people’s everyday lives, the public don’t trust private companies and feel that have lost control of privatised services that should serve them.
It is all about who do you trust
Survation in 2016 and 2017 conducted two national surveys of opinion for APSE using representative national samples of the population of over 1500 which yielded astonishingly similar results in both surveys.
On the key issue of trust in the 2017 survey:
• Five times as many people trust the local Council over the Government to make decisions about how services are delivered in their local area.
• Eight times as many trust local councillors over government ministers to make decision about their local area.
• Five and half times as many trusted councils to provide services in their local area over a private company with people trusting the council 7.5 times more than the government.
These results don’t indicate people unconditionally love their local Councillor or Council, they just show people trust Councils and Councillors relatively more than anyone else because they feel that they can more easily hold Councils and Councillors to account.