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Residents' Survey

Your views are helping to shape our plans


We carried out a residents' survey in 2021 to help inform the creation of a new Council Strategy for 2023 to 2027, which will set out our priorities for improvement, as well as how we will deliver core services such as roads, schools and social care.

To ensure residents' views help shape the strategy, we invited 5,000 households across the district to take part. Addresses were randomly selected in such a way to ensure the results represented communities across the district. In total, 1,248 survey responses were received, which allows the data to be statistically representative of the entire population of West Berkshire. As well as informing the Council Strategy for 2023 to 2027 the results from the survey will also guide us in how we communicate and engage with our residents.

The questions covered a broad set of topics:

Speaking about the results Councillor Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council said:

"The information that residents have given us will help us to reflect their priorities in our plans for the coming four years. Since we received the results we've started responding to them, but there is more that we want to do and this will be reflected in our longer-term strategy. I want to thank everyone who completed the survey and their views with us.

"The survey results will be used more widely than influencing the new strategy. We will be looking at how we can enhance our communication and engagement with under-represented groups and to further improve how we put the residents at the heart of all that we do."

Whilst the survey results were representative of the district's population as a whole, we recognised that more needed to be done to engage groups of residents where response rates were lower. Therefore, in addition to the initial survey, we carried out interviews, workshops and other activities to capture the views of younger people (16-44-year-olds), residents in Thatcham North East ward, and from our more deprived areas.

The results of the residents' survey were considered by elected Members at Executive Meeting on Thursday, 9 June 2022.

If you'd like to find out more you can, Icon for pdf read our survey findings paper [3MB]  compiled by M.E.L research who ran the survey on our behalf, read the report, discussions and decisions made at the Executive meeting or watch the recording of the Executive meeting on our YouTube channel (the discussion starts around 1:25:09), or read the summary below.

Summary of the responses from the Residents' Survey 2021

Satisfaction with the local area and the Council

What you told us:

  • Overall, a high proportion of residents are satisfied with the local area (89%) and with the way the Council runs things (64%). This compares favourably with comparative data from the Local Government Association, where the results are 78% and 56% respectively.
  • 33% of residents would speak positively about the Council compared to 16% that would speak negatively.
  • Of the residents that contacted the Council in the previous six months, 56% reported a positive experience, compared to 15% that reported a negative one.

What we did:

  • Work is underway to better inform our residents about the services we deliver, our lower costs compared to similar councils and to adopt a customer charter developed with our residents.

Service improvement and prioritisation

What you told us:

The areas with the highest proportion of residents considering that require improvement are:

  • Environment: in particular, the desire for better recycling/waste management/more materials collected and improved facilities/services
  • Development and Planning: concerns about the quality of the planning process and effects of overdevelopment
  • Communities and Wellbeing: adesire for more/improved services, concerns about insufficient support
  • Education: the need for additional funding, improved choice and Special Educational Needs (SEN) support
  • Adult Social Care: the need for better services, support, facilities and funding
  • Over 60% of residents stated that they would take actions to help achieve carbon neutrality

What we did:

The Council has started making improvements, including making good progress to extend the advice, support and tools made available to residents to support more recycling, composting and reusing. Plans are well under way to offer a separate food waste service. We are working to prepare a new development plan and are finalising a review of our Planning Service (through a Place Review) to better respond to residents' needs. The needs for Health and Wellbeing, Education, Social care and other services are being re-assessed so we can prioritise the services that West Berkshire residents need over the next four years.

Sense of belonging, safety and community

What you told us:

  • More than three quarters of residents reported that locally people get on well together and that friendships and associations in the neighbourhood meant a lot to them.
  • More than half of the respondents agree that local people pull together to improve the local area. Under a third responded that they have volunteered in the previous 12 months and they intend to do so in the future.
  • The problems in their local areas are rubbish or litter laying around (44% of residents reported this) and people using or dealing drugs (32%).

What we did:

We have agreed with the contractor for street cleanliness to progressively re-focus on this activity after they had to divert staff to bins collection due to Covid sickness levels. The Council waste officers have increased the monitoring across the district. We are encouraging residents to report any concerns or provide any intelligence to Thames Valley Police via 101 telephone number or the website, so that the Police can use that information adapt their patrol plans. The Council work closely with the Thames Valley Police within the Building Communities Together partnership. In addition, the Building Communities Together team in particular works very closely with the Neighbourhood Police Teams within the District.

Communications and engagement

What you told us:

  • Almost 60% of the residents agreed that the Council acts on their concerns and that they felt well informed about services and benefits provided by the Council
  • 45% responded that they were not aware of the e-bulletins from the Council - you can sign up to these here:  
  • 48% of the residents have contacted the Council in the previous six months to request services, report a problem or request information
  • 20% agree that they can influence decisions that affect their local area, whilst 47% disagreed.
  • A high proportion of residents (75%) prefer to receive information about the Council by e-mail. Subgroups of population (older residents, diverse ethnic groups) prefer other methods (phone, face to face) of communication.

What we did:

We've planned a number of activities (including the Residents' Survey), as part of our Icon for pdf Communications and Engagement Strategy [15MB] , focusing on improving the ways in which we are communicating with residents and how we reach out to ensure that people and businesses that usually do not or can not take the opportunities to express their views, are proactively invited to inform the Council's decisions and to shape the ways in which we deliver Council services.

Personal Wellbeing

What you told us:

  • The overall results show that West Berkshire residents reported a high level of life satisfaction, feeling worthwhile and happy. The anxiety score is within the low thresholds.
  • Approximately a quarter of the residents reported low and medium well-being score. These results are within the same thresholds as the national results reported for the period just before the start of the pandemic.

What we did:

The wellbeing of all our residents is what we are seeking to achieve through a number of plans and strategies, such as the Berkshire West Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

If you have any queries about the Residents' Survey, please contact the Performance, Research and Risk Team or call 01635 503043.

To take part in our surveys and consultations, please visit our Consultation and Engagement Hub and join our community panel.


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