The latest National Survey for Wales [i] shows that 65.2% of residents agreed or strongly agreed that Conwy County Borough Council provides quality services. This was the highest level of satisfaction of all 22 Local Authorities in Wales. Denbighshire residents also agree that their council services are better than the Welsh average (ranked 5highest in Wales at 59.3%). Individual Council services also regularly undertake customer satisfaction surveys, and they are improving analysis of complaints so that they can continue to make the services the local authorities provide better and more responsive.
However, the National Survey also suggests that the Councils needs to improve their communications and engagement strategies, as:
only 44.2% of respondents in Conwy CB and 44.4% in Denbighshire thought their Council was good at letting people know how it is performing, (Welsh average = 37.2%)
only 23.5% of respondents in Conwy CB and 19.6% in Denbighshire felt they could influence decisions affecting their local area (Welsh average = 21.0%)
50.2% of respondents in Conwy CB and 51.1% in Denbighshire would like more information on their Council’s performance (Welsh average = 52.0%)[ii]
44.7% of respondents in Conwy CB and 48.9% in Denbighshire would like to be more involved in decisions affecting the local area (Welsh average = 49.3%)
With a score of 6.5 out of 10, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has a slightly higher than average satisfaction with the health service than the Wales average (6.3). However the National Survey also shows:
only 39.4% of respondents feel they are kept informed about the local health services’ performance (Welsh average = 40.0%)
only 12.6% of respondents felt they could influence decisions affecting their local health services (Welsh average = 13.8%)
51.4% of respondents would like more information on local health services’ performance (Welsh average = 48.5%)
42.1% of respondents would like to be more involved in decisions made by local health services (Welsh average = 39.6%)
[i] National Survey for Wales 2014/15, Welsh Government [ii] National Survey for Wales 2013/14, Welsh Government
Compared to 2012/13, the latest figures for local authorities show:
an improvement for Conwy CB in those who agree that the local authority provides high quality services of over 5 percentage points. For Denbighshire the proportion stayed about the same (Welsh change – decrease of nearly 4 percentage points).
an very slight improvement for Conwy CB in those who agree that the local authority is good at letting people know how it is performing of less than 1 percentage point. For Denbighshire the proportion fell by nearly 13 percentage points (Welsh change – decrease of nearly 4 percentage points)
in Conwy CB, a decline of about one percentage point in those who felt they influence decisions affecting their local area. The decline was more marked in Denbighshire – falling from 30.3% to only 19.6% (Welsh change – fall of almost 4 percentage points)
Compared to 2012/13, the latest figures for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board show:
no change in the overall satisfaction score (Welsh change – decrease of 0.1 point out of ten in the same period).
an increase of nearly 14 percentage points in the proportion of respondents who felt they are kept informed about the local health services’ performance (Welsh change – increase of about 18 percentage points).
a decrease of over two percentage points in the proportion of respondents who felt they could influence decisions affecting
Expectations of and demands on public services continue to rise and are expected to increase in coming years. Population continues to grow, people are living longer, and key services are expected to deliver continually improving outcomes.
Healthcare is expected to improve so that medical advances don’t just keep us alive longer, but also enable us to lead healthier lives.
Schools are expected to deliver better education so that our children have the best possible start in life.
Social care demand is rising for older people, both for residential and community based care. Demand is also rising amongst 16-64 age group, particularly for people with learning difficulties and mental health needs.
People want access to services at times that suit work patterns and family/social lives that are increasingly fluid.
Expectations of quality across all public services are rising.
At the same time, public services in Wales face unprecedented financial and resource pressures. Spending cuts in the past have tended to be short term. Austerity measures have now been in place since 2010. The most recent spending projections[iii] show that government austerity policies are set to continue into the 2020s, which will mean a period of over ten years of public spending cuts. Beyond that, the position is uncertain and depends on the state of the economy and the tax and spending policies of future UK Governments, and the impacts of Brexit on national finances.
These pressures will influence people’s opinions of public service, and will need to be mitigated for. This could be done through measures such as promoting self-reliance and independence amongst residents; improving co-production and joined-up delivery of services and support; changing future delivery models, particularly through involving the public in decision making.