Headlines: August 12th, 2010

The Place Survey due to be carried out next year, is the latest casualty of the budget cuts. The postal survey, which was to be carried out by every council, would have involved over half a million residents and was estimated to cost more than £5 million to run.

Place surveys seek to capture local peoples’ views, experiences and perceptions, so that the solutions for an area can reflect local views and preferences. The surveys also track people’s changing perceptions, as a way of determining whether interventions made in an area result in the right outcomes for local people. The surveys seek views on policies ranging from people’s use of local services to their general health and well-being as well as levels of support for older people and steps to tackle crime. They also measure levels of participation in any given local community.

Place Surveys replaced the Best Value User Satisfaction Survey, which councils have been conducting every three years since 2000.

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps said: “These surveys are a cosmetic exercise which never change anything. Let’s give real power back to the people – such as letting taxpayers veto high council tax rises.”

Fieldwork for this year’s survey was due to take place by all councils between September and December this year – but the Minister has today scrapped this to prevent the cash being diverted from vital public services.