‘Are you being served’: Benchmarking resident satisfaction survey results using the LG Inform tool

Do you know what your residents think of your council? Are they happy with the way you run things, the value for money they receive, and do they think you keep them well informed? The answers to these questions are key for councils who wish to understand and improve their performance.

Whilst locally gathering information about resident satisfaction is a positive first step, it can be hard to interpret what these results mean without also having some context around how other councils are performing.

Simply comparing data to other councils that have used different methods to survey their residents can often be misleading. Variations in question ordering, wording and approach can have a significant impact on how residents answer perceptions surveys, causing benchmarking to be misleading. With this in mind, the LGA has produced a question set and guidance for councils who are carrying out resident satisfaction surveys and wish to accurately and effectively benchmark these results against other councils using the LG Inform tool (the LGA’s free data and benchmarking service).

Developed and cognitively tested by the LGA and the leading market research company Ipsos MORI, and modified and agreed via consultation with the sector, the guidelines are designed to save councils both time and money. With a flexible approach created to suit local circumstances, councils can minimise the cost of collecting the data by simply choosing to use only the questions that are of local interest, and fit these questions within existing survey plans.

Using the guidelines in conjunction with the LG Inform tool significantly maximises the benefits and insight that can be gained from local survey data by making it broadly comparable. In a time of greater transparency, benchmarking against other authorities can provide context, help raise lines of enquiry as to what could be driving differences in results and highlight areas where councils can learn from each other.

A number of forward thinking councils have already begun to participate in this benchmarking and upload their results to LG Inform, both to put their own results into context and provide a resource for the benefit of the whole sector. To view a summary report of results to date, please visit this LG Inform report. This report is updated with additional results quarterly.

If you would like to run a survey in line with the guidance, the question set and guidance document can be accessed here.