The purpose of this report is to inform the Committee of the outcomes from the 2022 Residents’ Satisfaction Survey.
The Committee is also asked to review and note the contents of the survey.
The Group Head of Organisational Excellence presented the Arun District Council Residents’ Satisfaction Survey results for 2022 which had been undertaken during July and August 2022 by BMG Research Ltd. A copy of the survey questions and their final report could be found within Appendix A of the report.
The report outlined the findings from the research into the experiences of people living in Arun and perceptions of the Council and its services. There were comparisons made with the national Local Government Association survey and the results from the council’s survey undertaken last year. The report covered the detail of the methodology used and Members were advised that there were two data collection methods used.
A postal survey (which could be completed online) had been undertaken and sent to randomly selected households across the district to ensure full geographical cover (closed survey) and most of the commentary within the report had been based on this data because that was how this exercise had been carried out in the past and it was important to be able to make comparisons. The same survey was made available as a link on the council’s website for any Arun resident (open survey) and the comparison tables could be found within the report.
The responses showed a similar pattern but also in the majority of questions residents in the closed survey had more positive perceptions than the open survey, suggesting that some residents had responded to the open survey because in some instances they were unhappy with a certain issue or service.
The results of each question had been summarised in a table on page 72. This showed the % change in performance from 2021 for each question, but essentially it had been colour coded into better than, the same as or worse than last year and by how much.
In summary the overall responses to five of the questions showed perceptions that were worse than last year whilst for seventeen questions the experiences of people living in Arun and perceptions of the Council and its services were the same as or better than last year.
The Vice-Chair then took the position of Chair for part of this item and invited questions. Members found it interesting to see the comparison between the open and closed surveys and were generally satisfied to accept that the council was in roughly the same position as it was in last year with the results. It was clear to see that the issue on top of many residents’ concern list was that of problem behaviours such as drunk and rowdy behaviour in places and issues of vandalism with Station Square in Bognor Regis being confirmed as a hot spot location. It was felt that this needed to be addressed. The Director of Environment and Communities responded stating that she was aware of the issues and that several interventions had been undertaken to attempt to alleviate the issue and so could not comment further.
Other Councillors also commented upon the issue of areas of vandalism, drugs and disorderly behaviour highlighting that the responsibility for dealing with this was the police and not this council. Complaints about anti-social behaviour and acts of vandalism were increasing and caused some of the biggest problems around the district because the culprits were not being caught and were not being dealt with; the result of this lack of action was that the problem just continued to grow. The council needed to find a way to ensure that the police were reacting to it. Suggestions were made to invite the police to attend a meeting of the appropriate Committee or to organise an annual meeting to make the police aware of the growing concerns in the district.
Other observations made were that there were considerable differences between the east and west of the district in terms of satisfaction with cleanliness and that this seemed to be very consistent. It was highlighted that the survey provided the council with triggers to have a look at and trends so that officers could then establish what was real and what was perception – the appropriate action could then be taken. The Director of Environment & Communities undertook to look at figures on cleanliness and differences across the district so that a response could be provided to the Committee.
Councillor Mrs Cooper then spoke as a non-member of the Committee and provided an update focusing on her involvement with the Safer Arun Partnership and how the issues raised on drunk and disorderly behaviour and vandalism were tackled. A big problem was that of public perception with the public feeling that the police were not acting on reported incidents. This was often because the public was using social media as a platform to report incidents rather than calling the police and she urged Councillors to ensure that when they responded to constituents, they made sure that the public were reporting incidents in the correct way and directly to the police. This was the only way of ensuring that hot spot areas were identified, and the right interventions could then take place. Councillor Mrs Cooper confirmed that the police would intervene if they knew about issues and that some excellent interactions had also taken place with the council’s anti-social behaviour team.
At the end of the discussion, the Committee noted the report and the Chair thanked the Officers involved.