The questions asked in this section were designed to help us find out how much panellists know about the opportunities available to influence what happens in their local area.
46% said they would know how to have an influence or say in their area but 40% said they would not. Over 80% said they might want to have a say if the matter in question directly affected themselves, their family or friends, their local area, or a service they may use. Slightly less felt they would want a say if the matter affected their local community (72%).
The table below shows the methods which respondents are most likely to use if they wanted to influence a decision or have a say:
|Preferred method of influence|
|Method||Percentage of panellists|
|Complaints / customer feedback||30.9%|
|Direct contact with the service||54.4%|
|Local group (not council-based)||17.7%|
|Email or Internet||26.0%|
|Questionnaire / survey||36.7%|
|Sign a petition||40.3%|
|Local council forum||13.5%|
|Councillor or MP||55.9%|
These results show that respondents much prefer to have direct contact with either Councillors or with the relevant service. This will help us to understand where we need to concentrate our efforts to enable residents to contact us to have their say on issues which are important to them.
We then gave panellists a list of 12 potential ways they can currently use to influence decisions. From this list ‘the most heard of’ include Councillors (52%), Parish and town councils (49%) and School Governors (49%). Approximately one third of respondents had also heard of the different types of community groups / forums (Council, NHS and police led). 33% had heard of the Ward forums, a similar number were familiar with the Voluntary networks and 27% with Faith groups.
Though the sample sizes are small and care should be taken using this data, of those who had used the channels, 46% said they would use the NHS community groups again, 44% said they would attend the Ward forums again and 29% said they would contact Councillors again.
Again with small sample sizes, of the 12 ways to influence listed in the survey, Ward Forums scored highest in answer to the question “were my views listened to”, with Police Community groups and Council scrutiny panels also being high in this regard.
Responses to the questions which asked for ‘other’ methods by which people might have an influence or say, some of the most popular included writing letters to the local press, use of the Internet eg. Fix my Street| and contacting local Police groups.
We will carefully look at these results to understand how we can help to make it easier for residents in Calderdale to be more involved with local decision-making.