Abstracts: November 1st, 2006

This report from the Department for Communities and Local Government sets out the findings of a qualitative research programme undertaken by BMG Research to examine views and perceptions of local government. The research involved focus group discussions and workshops.For most people, “local authority service provision” means refuse collection and recycling, followed by leisure, sporting and recreational facilities, parks and keeping the streets clean. Awareness of the range of services provided by councils tended to be low. Over two in five respondents, 42%, are satisfied overall with the way in which their local authority runs things.

Respondents are most likely to feel fairly or very well informed about how to pay council bills, 87%, but not about other issues such as whether the authority is delivering on promises where 73% were poorly informed.

Few of the respondents have more than a rough idea about what a councillor does. Some have no real understanding at all and often confused councillors and local authority staff. Respondents do not know the identity of their local councillor. Most take very little interest in local politics and are highly cynical about what would motivate a person to stand for election to the council. Impressions of councillors on the whole were fairly negative, with councilors described as inaccessible and “haughty”.

The report is available at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/pub/991/