Survey shows public priorities are education, roads, and waste services, claim Council
West Dunbartonshire Council is spending taxpayers’ money to find out what services the public value most, writes Bill Heaney. They claim that more than 1,000 citizens in West Dunbartonshire – population almost 90,000 – participated in a survey to indicate which services were most important to them. The Council’s “early engagement” on how it spends its money has, they claim, shown that local residents most value education, roads, waste and services for children and young people.
Do you have a computer; do you know how to use one? If you don’t then you will not be pleased to know that you were not consulted, which means that since senior citizens and others fall into this category, this survey is likely to be flawed.
And indication of this is that health and social care, one of the most valued and under pressure services among elderly people and their families, does not feature in the council’s top five.
The outcome of the survey, which ran from August to September, is said to give gives both Council Officers and Elected Members an indication of the service areas in which there is an opportunity for change. However, if the councillors and officers did not know what the electorate thought before the survey then it is difficult to work out why the were elected/appointed.
Council services, some of which surprisingly didn’t come up in the budget survey which reached only one per cent of the population.
They claim services that residents reported as having the lowest priority to them were school transport, arts and heritage, business support, funding for public transport and registration services.
These are probably services which have the lowest priority for councillors who have to public dismay been mucking around with the Public Library service for some time now and who must be aware that that the bus and train services have been panned for their inability to meet public demand.
In addition, residents stated that roads were there top priority for additional investment, with Community Safety and anti-social behavior [sic] also heavily backed.
The information gathered from the engagement process is being reported to Council later this month, and officials have expressed the hope that it will inform the options which are presented to elected members for consideration when setting the 2020/21 Council budget.
The 1,071 residents who responded represent 1.2% of the population of West Dunbartonshire – a figure recognized [sic] as being a sufficient response level to be reliable.
Malcolm Bennie, pictured left, Strategic Lead for Communications, Culture, Communities and Facilites [sic], said: “The new public engagement process on spending priorities has provided councillors and officers with broad information on the priorities of [one per cent] of local residents.
“It is also available much earlier in the budget process than normal which will hopefully assist Elected Members with their decision-making.
“We would like to thank all those residents who took part in the survey and attended the focus groups. The response rate was positive when compared to other Scottish local authorities.”
Like audiences for the BBC’s Question Time programme, there must be question marks over the way respondents for surveys like this are chosen.