Release date: 12 October 2018
Feedback from residents and businesses on county council priorities, collected as part of this year’s ‘What Matters to You?’ survey, has been analysed.
The survey, which ran from April to July this year, asked residents to have their say on how more than £500 million worth of taxpayers’ money should be spent on council services, what its main priorities should be, and how its budget is set for West Sussex in future years.
Views were also sought on how much council tax should be set at.
Results from the survey show that, out of the council’s five main priority areas, ‘A Strong, Safe and Sustainable Place’ remains top, with ‘A Council that works for the Community’ a close second.
Giving our children and young people the ‘Best Start in Life’, ‘Independence for Later Life’ and ensuring West Sussex is ‘A Prosperous Place’ came third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Overall, support for an increase in council tax to continue to help pay for vital services was high, with 44% of respondents considering an increase of between 2.1% to 4.98% to be reasonable and 31% preferring an increase in line with the maximum of 4.99%.
Out of the 2400 residents that responded to the survey, 70% were happy with West Sussex as a place to live, work and visit, however overall satisfaction and value for money of council services is low.
Those who completed the 2018 survey were also eligible to enter a prize draw to win £500 for a West Sussex registered charity of their choice.
Following the survey closing date, a winner was chosen at random by West Sussex County Council Leader Louise Goldsmith from over 1240 entries.
Southwater Junior Academy was chosen to receive the prize, and has decided to share the money out to several of their supported local charities across the county.
Louise said: “Getting people’s views into the way we work and what we focus on is vital if we are to continue to offer our residents the very best services and the best value for money.
“Our residents and businesses have spoken and, as elected members, we now have a duty to ensure what they have told us is reflected in the way we shape our services and plan our budget in the future.
“The feedback also tells us that there is work to do to ensure we identify the areas where we did not score so highly in terms of overall satisfaction and value for money and make the necessary improvements.
“I am really pleased that, as part of this process, we were also able to help support some of our local charities. My congratulations to Southwater Junior Academy for winning the prize money which I am sure will be very well received by their chosen charities.”
The ‘What Matters to You?’ Survey is run by West Sussex County Council every two years and asks residents and business owners across the county for their views on all services the County Council is responsible for. There are questions on highways to libraries and social care to the fire and rescue service – and everything in between.
The results of the survey was shared with the council’s performance and finance committee on Friday October 5. It has also been shared with the Council’s Cabinet and all services to make sure the information is used to inform further decision making.
In 2016, responses to the survey helped to define the council’s priorities in the West Sussex Plan 2017-22.
This sets out how the council will shape its services for the coming years, focusing on:
- Giving our children and young people the best start in life,
- Ensuring West Sussex is a prosperous place,
- Our communities will be strong, safe and sustainable,
- We will support you in later life to remain independent,
- We will be a council that works for our communities.
Feedback from the 2018 survey has helped decide which three of the five priorities in the plan matter most to residents and will help ensure resource is focused most on these areas.