24/07/2017 - Permalink

Results of the Big Conversation 2016/17 now published

Related topics: Adult social care / Children's services / Community / Corporate / Democracy / Health / Highways, transport and environmental maintenance / Housing / Leisure, culture and heritage / Partner organisations / Planning / Public protection

 Shropshire Council has published the results of its Big Conversation 2016/17.

Big Conversation logo

Big Conversation

Residents and organisations across Shropshire were invited to give their views on what the council can do to overcome its challenges and best support local people.

The aim of the engagement exercise is to help inform future decisions about how those services important to local people, can continue to grow and flourish, against the backdrop of changes to local government finance.

Shropshire’s Big Conversation 2016/17 survey asked residents questions about their community, health, the local economy and about the council as a whole. These themes reflect the four main priorities in the council’s Corporate Plan, which were developed from public feedback from the Big Conversation 2015/16.

Key findings of the survey included:

Your community (resilient communities)

  • 79% are satisfied with their local area as a place to live.
  • 77% said their community was active and resourceful but a recurrent comment was that it’s the same people who tend to be active in the community and more people need to be encouraged to get involved. Barriers to doing more included not knowing how to get involved and availability of training, resources and support.
  • People asked for greater visibility of elected councillors within their communities and a stronger understanding of the work of their elected representative.

Healthy people

  • People are actively looking after themselves with some 77% of those surveyed saying they eat well, 76% staying active, 68% saying they take steps to look after their mental and physical well-being.
  • However, there are mixed views regarding the council’s work under this theme. Some people call for greater partnership working with health partners, while others suggest Shropshire Council should do less and focus more on the core services indirectly impacting on health such as leisure, provision of cycle paths, footpaths etc.
  • People asked for health information (such as healthy eating advice) and information on local activities (to avoid social isolation) in local buildings and community venues rather than online.

Prosperous economy

  • 45% of those surveyed rated our work on making Shropshire’s economy more prosperous as either good or very good.
  • Key areas identified for improvement included improving mobile and Internet connectivity, developing tourism, improving public transport, improving town centre vibrancy and developing investment opportunities.

The council

  • 59% of people have noticed changes in the services provided by Shropshire Council but despite financial challenges, changes were not all negative.
  • A common theme was communication. People don’t understand what the council’s responsibilities are, what has been done and what to expect for the future.
  • People felt Shropshire Council should do more to lobby central government for additional funding.

A total of 1,002 people and organisations took part in this Big Conversation which ran from November 2016 until March 2017. Residents and organisations responded either by taking part in a website survey or through focus groups which targeted those members of the community who would not necessarily take part in an online survey.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for corporate support, said:

“We continually want to know how residents feel about the services we provide. Keeping residents and businesses informed is really important and we want to make sure we get it right.

“With local government finance facing its most significant change for decades, it is more important than ever that we continue to engage with all our residents so we can maintain our good services and minimise impact on customers.

“Shropshire’s Big Conversation provides us with the opportunity to do this by giving us valuable insight and feedback from our customers which helps guide our decisions on how we will deliver services in the future.”

We also wanted to provide opportunities for people who wouldn’t usually complete online surveys to comment, so this year we worked with: Taking Part, Carers Trust 4All, Shropshire Housing Support Group, and Shropshire Council’s adult social care, business design and community enablement teams.

Shropshire’s Big Conversation was first launched in 2015 to better understand which services people valued most and where the council should prioritise its budget in light of Government cuts. Residents and organisations were asked to complete a survey or attend a Big Conversation event and were asked what council services were most important to them and where they felt the council should prioritise its budget. People and communities were also asked what they could do to help and make the remaining resources it had go further.

To date the Big Conversation has received a total of 4,112 responses.

There are a number of reports available to highlight the 2016/17 Big Conversation. These range from summaries to full reports. You can find the full results of the Big Conversation 2016/17 on the council’s website here.

Further information

Who took part in the survey? 

280 people completed the online survey and a further 722 were involved in targeted discussion with key groups within the community.

How will people’s feedback be used?

To date the Big Conversation has received a total of 4,112 responses. These responses are analysed and the results used to inform the council’s strategic action planning and service planning processes. Shropshire Council also produces a “You Said, We Have and We Will” report to highlight where action has already been taken and where new action is planned in order to respond to the feedback received. The 2016/17 “You Said, We Have and We Will” report will be added to the Big Conversation section of Shropshire Council’s website in the near future.