Local Authority Responses

32 Local Authority Councillors responded to the survey on the impacts of austerity measures on local services.

Click here to view the results of the Local Authority survey

Q1.    Compared to 3 years ago how would you rate current public services?

Much better  6.45%
Slightly better  32.26%
Unchanged  12.90%
Slightly worse  38.71%
Much worse  9.68%

 
Q2.   
In respect of specific services, how have these changed over the last 3 years?

  Much Better Slightly Better Unchanged Slightly Worse Much Worse Don't Know
Recycling Collection 35.48% 22.58% 32.26% 3.23% 6.45% 0%
Parks and open Spaces 20% 16.67% 50% 10% 0% 3.33%
GP Surgeries 3.33% 20% 46.37% 26.67% 3.33% 0%
Refuse Collection 24.14% 34.48% 31.03% 6.90% 3.45% 0%
Local Hospitals 3.33% 23.33% 30% 33.33% 10% 0%
Schools and Colleges 10.71% 21.43% 25% 14.29% 0% 28.57%
Bus Services 0% 6.45% 25.81% 25.81% 29.03% 12.90%
Street Lighting 0% 13.33% 53.33% 26.67% 3.33% 3.33%
Libraries 13.79% 6.90% 21.14% 24.14% 3.45% 27.59%
Street cleaning 3.23% 16.13% 48.39% 19.35% 6.45% 6.45%
Police 6.67% 10% 40% 23.33% 6.67% 13.33%
Care for the elderly 0% 3.57% 28.57% 25% 10.71% 32.14%
Road Maintenance 6.67% 13.33% 16.67% 23.33% 40% 0%
Meals on wheels 0% 0% 25% 0% 10% 65%
Social Services 0% 7.14% 21.43% 25% 7.14% 32.29%
Housing Advice Services 3.85% 7.69% 34.62% 3.85% 0% 50%
Planning Services 14.29% 21.43% 32.14% 10.71% 3.57% 17.86%
Environmental Health Services 6.67% 10% 46.67% 6.67% 0% 30%
Sport and Leisure Facilities 10.34% 31.03% 34.48% 6.90% 0% 17.24%

 
Q2(b).
    Respondent were asked whether they used the list of services above.  The responses below therefore show the same areas of service with responses from the users of the services:

  Much Better Slightly Better Unchanged Slightly Worse Much Worse Don't Know
Recycling Collection 36.67% 23.33% 30% 3.33% 6.67% 0%
Parks and open Spaces 21.74% 17.39% 47.83% 13.04% 0% 0%
GP Surgeries 3.33% 20% 46.67% 26.67% 3.33% 0%
Refuse Collection 24.14% 34.48% 31.03% 6.90% 3.45% 0%
Local Hospitals 3.45% 24.14% 27.59% 34.48% 10.34% 0%
Schools and Colleges 22.22% 33.33% 11.11% 22.22% 0% 11.11%
Bus Services 0% 9.09% 36.36% 27.27% 27.27% 0%
Street Lighting 0% 16.67% 50% 25% 4.17% 4.17%
Libraries 18.75% 12.50% 37.50% 31.25% 0% 0%
Street cleaning 3.85% 19.23% 50% 19.23% 3.85% 3.85%
Police 10.53% 10.53% 36.84% 31.58% 10.53% 0%
Care for the elderly 0% 10.00% 20% 50% 20% 0%
Road Maintenance 8% 16.00% 16.00% 20.00% 40% 0%
Meals on wheels 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Social Services 0% 18.18% 9.09% 54.55% 0% 18.18%
Housing Advice Services 0% 0% 100% 0% 0% 0%
Planning Services 18.75% 25.00% 31.25% 12.50% 6.25% 6.25%
Environmental Health Services 7.69% 15.38% 69.23% 7.69% 0% 0%
Sport and Leisure Facilities 21.43% 35.71% 28.57% 14.29% 0% 0%

 
Q3.    Have you noticed any changes in the accessibility of services provided by your local Council(s) over the last 3 years in terms of:

a)    The opening times when a service is available:

Yes - Longer hours
 6.45%
Yes - Shorter hours  22.58%
No Change  70.97%

Shorter Hours included:
•    Shorter library opening hours x 4
•    Sports Centre opening hours reduced


Longer hours included:

•    Customer services being open later

 

b)    How frequently a service is provided:

Yes - More often
 3.33%
Yes - less often
 26.67%
No Change  70%

Less often comments included:
•    Public toilets cleaned less frequently, volunteer led libraries open less often
•    Street cleaning frequency reduced. Rural footpath maintenance cut
•    Ceasing to support a service

 

c)    The location from which services are provided?

Yes - Wider range of locations
 6.45%
Yes - Smaller range of locations
 29.03%
No Change  67.74%

Smaller range of locations included:

•    Co-location of partners
•    Closing one stop shop
•    District Council now joint working with a Council in Oxfordshire, some activities are based there rather than within SNC
•    Reduction in libraries


d)    The charges made for particular services?

Yes - Increased Charges
 61.29%
Yes - Decreased Charges
 0%
No Change  38.71%

 Increased charges included:
•    Green waste collection x4
•    Entry to sports facilities, charging for types of rubbish and non statutory grass cutting by County Council facilities, change
•    Cost of carers increased
•    Increased charges for planning advice. Increased car parking charges. Increased charges for pest control. Higher bus fares.
•    Car Parking, special refuse collections, planning fees
•    Car parking-Rents-Planning fees-Building regs

 

 
Q4.    Please list the three most significant impacts of changes in service provision affecting your local area over the last 3 years.

There were a range of responses to this question which can be collated into four main areas

Negative Impact Issues with Roads
Reduced bus service in rural areas
Reduced street lighting
Fewer community grants available
More isolated and vulnerable people
Total loss of meals on wheels service leaving elderly/vulnerable people struggling in rural areas
No support for rural access to services
Removal of bus service subsidies and free school transport for post 16 students
Limitation of council tax increases
Expectation of residents re Planning (particularly renewable energy)
Need to consider withdrawal from non mandatory services.
Reduced street lighting
Reduced grass cutting of roadside verges
Need for more benefits help for residents
Highways maintenance expenditure not kept up with demand
Highways management reduced
More damage to cars due to roads
Poor road maintenance
Reduced road maintenance to include drain and gulley cleansing
Better repair of potholes and other highway problems
Reduction in road maintenance
 Positive Impact  Additional Charges
Increased membership of leisure facility following refurb.
The county sharing offices with the district.
Improvement on the Town Hall
Volunteer libraries
Volunteer/private sector tourist information provision
Handing over of parks and play areas to parishes/communities
New refuse contract
New Recycling arrangements
Improved leisure facility
Improved recycling services
Huge improvement in recycling collection
Move towards computer contact rather than availability of walk in services
Opening of a new fire station (but closure of others) to widen the area within which target response times can be met.
Most have stayed the same.
Garden waste collection through a subscription
Introduction of on street car parking charges


Q5)    Looking forward are you aware of any planned changes to local services that have yet to be implemented?

67% responded yes to this question and below are their responses in more detail.

Reduction in opening hours for libraries and closure of some.  Adult Social care increased charges.  Reduction in funding to voluntary organisations. Change in policing structure.
Mini recycling bins going, toilets in rural areas being reviewed - some shut.
New way or delivering library services planned but not fully implemented
Move to kerbside collection
Closure of most elderly and vulnerable peoples day care and residential care
County Council planned cuts.
Hospital provision
Support for Community Composting and other green groups.
Confidential
Impact of kerbside collections
District Plan.  Move of District HQ
Planned savings in adult social care
There will be a complete transformation of the way in which this Council operates. This will improve customer service as well as helping with budget difficulties.
Closure of Day Care services.  Closure of Council run Residential homes ofr the elderly.  Closure of libraries
Changes to library services are under consideration by Kent County Council
Changes to family support and services for youth
Changes planned for refuse collection and recycling
Grass cutting on main routes
Some libraries particularly on rural areas may close, new policing regime waste collection may change
Review of rural bus services
Total Review of Social Care and the development of closer relationship with Health

 


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