What Cornwall Thinks? We'll tell you. Details of the report Council didn't want you to see

The draft findings of the Council Resident’s Survey that was to be shown live via webcast but was pulled at the last minute have been leaked to Cornish Stuff.

We’ll reveal the findings, which have pockets of good news for the council but mostly don’t make good reading.

Adam Paynter today called the decision to take the findings behind closed doors ‘a strange one’ and explained he was not at County Hall when the decision was made, being away with family as it was half term. He wasn’t consulted and it’s not something he would have endorsed if he had been.

The headline from the report is that there has been a 10% drop in the overall satisfaction ‘with the way the council runs things’.

More people dissatisfied than satisfied with the council – and the numbers are dropping.

Only 30% think the Council gives value for money

Only 25% of people agree the Council is ‘trustworthy’.

The results of the residents survey were delivered to a briefing to councillors last Wednesday. It was expected to be publicly broadcast and available to all but a decision was made to make it private.  In the end it was only shown to those in the chamber and a specially adapted private weblink was hastily made available  to councillors. The reasons for the last minute reversal and who exactly took the decision are a bit vague but it left people wondering what they were trying to hide. The survey of 30,000 Cornish residents was undertaken in July and August this year.

Introducing proceedings, Cllr Julian German wanted to clarify the reason why the briefing was not afterall being public broadcast.

Cllrs were informed as late as 4.30pm the previous day to say that there would only be a private webcast.

Cllr German  said that the reason it was be behind closed doors was that the findings were only draft.

“The reason this session is not being publicly webcast is because the results are still draft and embargoed” he replied to questions.

Cllrs were issued a paper copy of the findings, a draft copy, the final version to go to cabinet on the 15th Nov and publicly available 7 days before that.

Cornish Stuff was sent a link anonymously and we have seen the entire broadcast and slides.

This was third residents survey carried out by the Unitary authority after 2014 , 2016. The county council also did surveys in the past which were also referred to.

“As a new administration we wanted to honour our commitment to listen and work to the people of Cornwall as set out in our priorities” said Cllr German.

“We are developing a new 4 year business plan and budget so it made sense to undertake a third survey this year” said Cllr German

After receiving criticism that the previous number of respondents was too low to be statistically meaningful, the council has this time significantly increased the number of households receiving a survey from 5,000 in 2016 to 30,000.

The council also spotted an opportunity to re-ask questions that had previously been asked in 2007, so that ten years on we could get a sense of significant changes in the quality of life experienced by residents”

The final draft of results of the resident’s survey will form part of the new four year business plan, promised the Deputy Leader of the Council.

Contacted by postal and online survey, a stratified random sample of 30,000 households spread across Cornwall, wanting a 40% response rate or at least 500 responses from each of the 19 community network areas.

Then Council official Jessie Hampshar gave a half hour presentation followed by Q&A by Councillors.

The survey received 11, 247 responses – which equates to a 38% response rate, which is massively up from 2016. Marketing Means say this gives a “High level of statistical confidence”.

Ms Hamshar said the findings gave a “Really rich insight into the things we are not getting right at the moment and how together (officers & Councillors) help to get those perceptions higher”

The overall satisfaction is broadly same but generally above elsewhere in the UK. Different areas of Cornwall are more happy with where they live than others. For example 92% of the residents of Wadebridge & Padstow  are happy with where they live, compared with only 64% of the people of Bodmin.

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How satisfied are you with the way council runs things?

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This means that a quarter of the residents of Cornwall are dissatified overall.


However this number is falling.  Following a +6% increase between 2014 and 2016 there was a 10% decrease in satifastion levels in 2017

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The levels of satisfaction dropping with mostly those who were satisfied previously dropping into the undecided category.

Particular services get better ratings than others.

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Refuse and recycling services get the highest rating, but the library service dips to 48% satisfaction from 68% previously.

Residents feel that keeping the place tidy, planning, road maintenance and housing services are less good. It’s the high profile projects that inform your perception of the Council overall.

Value for money is the biggest driver of satisfaction but perception of what you get for council tax is pretty poor.

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The final draft of the report will be presented to cabinet on Nov 15. A statement from Cllr leader Adam Paynter is expected later today.