Rated by rate-payers

Major citizens’ survey reports ‘council is viewed in a positive light’

Rated by rate-payers
Staff reporter

Reporter:

Staff reporter

SOME parts of Causeway Coast and Glens receive more council attention than others.
That's one of the perceptions identified by the borough's first ‘Citizen's Survey’.
The report published this week also suggest residents believe more can be done for young people.
But overall, the surveyors conclude that questionnaire responses, comments and above-average star-rating point to relatively high levels of satisfaction.
The survey was conducted by an independent bench-marking consultancy specialising in local government under the council's latest drive to increase community engagement.
It received 2,268 responses in total, with a completion rate of 82 per cent - described as ‘excellent’ by the reports authors.

SERVICES
The key services covered by the survey were:
l Refuse collection.
l Street cleaning.
l parks and open spaces.
l Sport and leisure.
l Registration of births deaths and marriages.
l Car parks.
l Community facilities.

The vast majority of respondents indicated that these core services were either ‘extremely important’ or ‘very important’.
Refuse collection scored highly in terms of performance with service reliability and frequency of collection attracting particular praise.
The level of recycling scored less well, but performance was still rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by 78 per cent of respondents.
When it came to the borough's streets, fly-tipping was one of the few areas to gain less than 50 per cent approval.
The survey revealed that dog bins, litter bins and toilets were the most important services to residents. Unfortunately, these were the areas that scored least well on performance
The borough's sport and leisure services scored relatively highly.
‘Good’ or ‘excellent’ ratings were logged by around two-thirds of respondents when asked about cleanliness, quality of equipment disability access and safety of the environment.
The council's handling of off-street car parking produced perceptions of performance that were among the lowest of all services.
Only up-keep of car parks scored higher than 50 per cent for ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Two-thirds of respondents rated the council's charging between ‘average’ and ‘very poor’.
When community facilities were assessed, 90 per cent of people surveyed said provision for young people was either ‘important’, ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’.
Unfortunately the council scored lower for performance in that area than any other element of the survey.
Almost one-third (31 per cent ) of respondents recorded a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ ratings.
The report’s authors point out that given the under-representation of youth respondents, more engagement was needed with the group.
And a number of people surveyed submitted additional comments suggesting facilities for young people in their part of the borough needed improving.
Respondent were also asked to give the council an overall star-rating.
The average rating was 3.2 out of five and 40 percent of respondents returned a satisfaction rate of 4 Stars or above
“Clearly the council is viewed in a positive light,” states the report.
Almost 900 respondents took the opportunity to submit additional comments on council performance not covered in the questionnaire.
Recurring themes included facilities for young people.
And a perception that some areas did less well than other as far as council services were concerned
“This might suggest a need for further engagement at a local level,” the report states.
“The Glens is mentioned in this context as are some individual towns.
The report concluded on an upbeat note: “Notwithstanding this, many comments are highly positive which couple with the good overall star rating, suggests that satisfaction with council is relatively high.”

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