Survey forms are pouring into local council offices revealing how satisfied people are with the services they receive, but it will not be possible to compare performance between councils until well into the next Best Value plan year. This is the largest public consultation exercise by local government and it will reveal what people think about local services including schools, refuse collection and recreation facilities.Some councils, including most London boroughs and the county and district councils in Essex decided to short circuit the Department for Environment Transport and Regions timetable and run joined-up surveys. This allows them to get limited comparative information before the end of 2000, in time to influence the Best Value Plan starting in April 2000.
The London borough’s survey is being carried out by Mori and the Essex consortium commissioned ORC International. The findings from Essex will be compared with benchmark groups for central and local government, housing associations and the private sector and the results will be available shortly. Rachel Lapata from ORC said: “We want to share our data with competitors so that the consortium can get the best deal.