Shropshire Council

2015/16 survey results

Thank you to those who took part in the Big Conversation survey, focus groups and workshops.

The Big Conversation survey was the first phase of a five-year conversation we want to have with Shropshire people to ask them what council services are most important to them, and what they can do to help and make the remaining resources it has go further.  

Working alongside our partners and voluntary and community groups to promote the Big Conversation, we had an incredible response, with over 2,200 people taking part in the survey. A further 177 representatives of the public, councillors, town and parish councils, the voluntary and community sector and local business attended the focus groups and workshops that took place following the survey.

It has always been our intention to make sure we hear from people from all walks of life so that the whole Shropshire council area is fairly represented, and we’re pleased to say that we heard from a good mix of people of all ages, abilities and lifestyles from all over Shropshire. With a response of this size we can say we have an accurate understanding of the views of the wider population of Shropshire.

Summary results of the survey

The results indicate that protecting vulnerable children is considered the most important service area to protect from reductions in spending, followed by education and supporting older people and vulnerable adults. Protecting vulnerable children and education are regarded as being roughly twice as important as employment services, and three times as important as health and housing services.

We also asked about ways of making savings and delivering services:

  • 77% respondents agreed or strongly agreed that we should combine services with other councils and public sector organisations. Just one in ten (10%) disagreed
  • 53% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with investing in IT to reduce staff costs. A fifth (21%) of respondents disagreed
  • Some 62% of respondents generally agreed that we should protect some services and cut back others in order to make savings, while 17% disagreed

Residents were asked their views around working with active communities.

  • Some 61% of respondents agreed that we should make more use of local residents and volunteers to deliver services in order to make savings, whilst only 22% disagreed
  • 71% of respondents agreed that communities should be enabled to do more for themselves. Some 12% of respondents disagreed
  • 32% of respondents were willing or very willing to contribute through participation or volunteering. Only 15% stated they would not be willing to do so

Respondents were also asked about locally raised income.

  • More than 55% of respondents agreed that fees should be increased so that the costs of some services are largely paid for by the direct user
  • 49% of respondents agreed with raising council tax, compared to 34% who disagreed 15% of respondents identified that they neither agree nor disagree with increasing council tax

Nearly a third (30%) of respondents to the survey stated that they would like to be involved in further engagement through focus groups and workshops that took place during January and February 2016.

Final report and action plan

The full independent report written by Pye Tait Consulting can be found in the Resources and useful information page. 

We've set out our response to the report in the attached action plan. The action plan is currently being audited, and an up to date version for 2017/18 will be available soon.

Feedback from the survey and focus groups is also informing our strategies, including the financial and corporate plan, and will continue to inform how the Big Conversation develops over the coming years.