[A] key survey shows residents continue to be happy with life in South Lakeland.
The Quality of Life Survey 2017 surveyed thousands of households across the district asking for opinions on council services. It also asked questions about what makes somewhere a good place to live.
The independent survey is undertaken every year and is a key indicator of council performance.
The results are now being used by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) to see what changes may be needed for services and priorities to ensure the council continues to meet the most important needs identified by residents.
In the main measure of council performance, the results show the percentage of respondents satisfied with the way SLDC runs things has increased by 6% over the 2016 result, with the 2017 figure up to 52%.
About half of respondents (47%) agree that they can trust SLDC to act in the best interests of the people of the district. When this same question was asked in 2012 35% agreed.
Crucially, the survey shows that SLDC’s key council plan priorities – to enable more affordable homes, protect the environment, support and enable economic growth and improve the health and wellbeing of residents – are in line with the areas identified as being most important to residents.
Health services (57%), affordable decent housing (45%), education provision (36%) and job prospects (27%) were listed as the areas of most importance in making somewhere a good place to live.
Overall 90% of respondents declared themselves satisfied with South Lakeland as a place to live, and 70% of respondents feel strongly that they belong to their immediate neighbourhood.
Three-fifths of people surveyed think that SLDC is working to make the area cleaner and greener, an increase of 9% from 2016.
In terms of services provided by the district council, the survey found that people were most satisfied with refuse collections (82% either ‘very satisfied’ or ‘fairly satisfied’, an increase of 9% on 2016), followed by elections and information on registering to vote (74%), kerbside recycling (72%) – up 16% from 2016 – and recycling banks at locations like car parks and supermarkets (67%), up 6% on 2016. Respondents were most dissatisfied with car parks (28% either ‘very’ or ‘fairly dissatisfied’).
New questions were asked in this year’s survey about how people contact the council and online services. These results will help inform the authority’s ongoing Customer Connect programme, which aims to improve the lives of residents by delivering services and support in the ways that suit them and provides best value for the taxpayer.
The survey responses showed that of the people who’d contacted the council in the past two years, 58% rated their experience as ‘good’ (11% bad) and the services most contacted were waste and recycling, elections and revenues and benefits.
The most popular ways respondents said they would like to receive information from the council was through the quarterly newspaper South Lakeland News (59%), the website (33%), email updates (27%) and social media (16%).
76% of the respondents have access to a computer and 80% have home broadband, with 44% agreeing they would like to access more council services online (13% disagree).
There was an increase in the percentage of respondents stating they can access activities that make a difference to their health and wellbeing or lifestyle, with leisure up 5%, arts, events and culture up 6% and information, advice and support up 5%.
Presenting the report to last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, SLDC portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Philip Dixon, said: “The survey is a very interesting read and the results are very positive.
“The overwhelming statistic is that 90% of those who responded think South Lakeland is a good place to live.
“While there is no room for complacency the results are very upbeat. It is important that we are tackling the real issues that matter to people and that our key Council Plan priorities are very much in line with the things our residents want us to be tackling.
“We use this survey as a valuable measure of how well we are performing and to help us identify where we should be focusing our attentions.’’
The full Quality of Life Survey 2017 report can be viewed HERE.