East Lothian Council

Local poll puts county on top

Published Monday 17th October 11

Red pencil marking a cross

East Lothian is one of the best places to live in the country, according to a recent survey of local opinion.

The survey, carried out earlier this year for East Lothian Council by an independent polling organisation, found that 99 per cent of residents think that the county is a good place to live - 2 per cent up on a similar poll conducted in 2009.

And when it comes to satisfaction with the way the council is performing, 9 out of 10 respondents said that they are satisfied with the way East Lothian Council is managing the county.  71 per cent agreed that the council gives them good value for money (compared to 48 per cent in the last survey two years ago).

Around three quarters of those polled also agreed that the council designs its services around the needs of the people who use them - 73 per cent compared to only 47 per cent in 2009.  78 per cent also said that the council does a good job of caring for local people (a rise of 25 percentage points in two years).

When asked how much their neighbourhood had changed in the last five years, 8 out of 10 respondents said that it had stayed the same.  11 per cent said that their neighbourhood had improved and only 6 per cent felt that it had got worse.

Residents were also asked what they think the most important issues are in making somewhere a good place to live.  Although the level of crime was the biggest factor, very few respondents (5 per cent) said that this needed improvement in their neighbourhood.  Affordable decent housing and jobs for local people were also perceived to be important. 

However, when it comes to looking at areas that need improvement, the highest priority for most people is jobs, road and pavement repairs, and activities for teenagers.

The survey found that the services most frequently used by local residents include parks, gardens and open spaces, local bus services, swimming pools and libraries.  Local people also said that these services are important ones for the council to provide, along with schools, support for the elderly and child protection.

Nearly a quarter of those asked said that they had been in contact with the council in the last 12 months, with most enquiries (86 per cent) made by telephone. Satisfaction with the friendliness and respect given by council staff now stands at 94 per cent, and satisfaction with the general level of customer service has also risen - 93 per cent compared with 75 per cent in 2009. 

East Lothian Council Leader, Councillor Paul McLennan commented:

It's clearly very important that we carry out regular residents' surveys like this to gauge community opinion, address local priorities and to make improvements in the services we provide.

In general, the results of the 2011 survey have been positive for East Lothian, for the council and our communities,

While satisfaction with the way the council is managing the area has increased significantly since our last poll, we are by no means complacent.  We recognise that there are areas of real concern for local people that we will need to address - the lack of jobs, the need for more activities for young people and the condition of some of our roads and pavements.

Despite the financial challenges we face, we will be looking very carefully at these survey results and we will continue to work with our communities to help meet their priorities and to improve local services wherever possible.

A report on the residents' survey will be presented to East Lothian Council at their next meeting on 25 October.  The findings will then be made publicly available on the Council's website at http://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/ and in the November issue of the Council's Living newspaper.

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