Councils most trusted to provide and deliver services

The latest Survation poll for APSE finds three times as many people trust their local council over the government to make decisions about how services are delivered in the local area.

The polling sample consisted of 1,651 UK residents, to provide a public opinion survey of attitudes to local neighbourhood services in 2021, covering the range of council services that would appear in their local area.

The survey found trust in councils and councillors is still high overall compared to trust in government and ministers. People were three times more trusting councils than government, and over seven times more trusting councillors over government ministers.

In other findings, the data suggests that climate change remains a priority for the public and they expect councils to take a leading role in responding to it. Nearly six in ten say the specific local climate action they most support is making homes more energy efficient.  The next priority is improved recycling and waste reduction (53 per cent).

When asked whether enough tax is spent on services in the local area, a comprehensive 65 per cent responded with ‘not enough’, an increase of six per cent on the previous year. Even more comprehensive was the response to the follow-up question, in which 77 per cent of people preferred the government to set aside more money for local councils than for national spending.

Paul O’Brien, APSE chief executive, said: “These findings are really encouraging for anyone who works in local government. When it comes to delivering the neighbourhood level public services communities want and need, public trust remains strong; testament to the phenomenal work undertaken by local authorities over the past year in the face of extraordinary pressures.

“Though the survey should bring some reassurance to the sector, it should also serve as a spur to action in convincing fovernment of the need to grant councils parity of esteem when delivering improvements at a community level. As laid out in the APSE Local Government Commission 2030 report – Local by Default – the roles and responsibilities of local authorities must be broadened and deepened, especially in areas like climate change, if we are to meet the big public policy challenges of the future effectively and with popular support. A sustainable financial settlement is also imperative, one that ensures every council has sufficient resources to exercise its roles and responsibilities and meet the ever-growing needs of its communities.”

Supplier Profiles