Mixed levels of satisfaction but majority trusts council

THE majority of residents are satisfied with the delivery of services by Woking Borough Council, although there is a vast range of opinions across the borough.

The findings were presented to a revived residents’ panel last Wednesday night after an independent survey earlier this year.

Studying results: Ayesha Azad, pictured in the council chamber

While satisfaction levels are at 74% across Woking, they ranged from just over 90% in Canalside and 80% in Pyrford to just under 20% in Byfleet and West Byfleet.

The panel and survey were set up after a commitment by council leader Ayesha Azad to greater transparency when she took over after the sudden resignation of David Bittleston in October last year.

Cllr Azad said the advantage of asking blunt questions was that it gave a baseline of residents’ feelings and from which the council can work.

“The sense of community spirit was high across all wards but trust in the council’s delivery of services was lower than we would want it to be at about 60%,” she said.

Some 70% agreed that they could trust the council to “take appropriate action today to benefit residents in the future”, but only 56% were happy with the way the council supported the disadvantaged in the borough.

“That is really disappointing because Woking Borough Council does a lot in terms of grant allocations and other support,” Cllr Azad said.

She added that one of the messages of the survey was that the council “is good at doing a lot of things but not very good in communicating this to our residents – that is definitely an area for improvement”.

Cllr Azad said the council will look closely at the survey results and create action plans for all the relevant departments in discussion with the heads of department and in conjunction with the portfolio holders.

The survey, conducted in March this year, was sent to 10,000 randomly selected people and there were 1,335 respondents.

More than 750 people have agreed to sit on the residents’ panel, which held its first meeting online last night. It was hosted from the council chamber by former Eagle Radio presenter, Peter Gordon, with Cllr Azad and Julie Fisher, who took over as council chief executive in April, answering pre-submitted questions.

The panel, which has vacancies for more members, will be consulted for feedback regarding potential council decisions and will be able to put forward ideas for improving their local area.

* FOR more information about Woking Residents’ Panel, including how to apply, visit www.woking.gov.uk/residentspanel.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Editorial Team