Autumn 2008


Welcome to the Autumn 2008 edition of our Newsletter and a big ‘thank you’ to all of you who completed and returned our Summer 2008 survey, providing us with a 63% response rate. Our Autumn survey will help us to shape and improve policies and services in Calderdale in the way you would like us to.

Inside this issue

The summer survey contained eight topics on important issues relating to both Council services and communities within Calderdale. Your responses so far have enabled us to collate a valuable set of results on which we can base future decisions and potential improvements to our services. The results are summarised in the following pages and the topics covered include:

Calderdale Call

Calderdale Call is the magazine produced by the Council for all its residents. A pleasing 89% of respondents say they receive Calderdale Call at home with over 75% saying they read ‘Most’ or ‘All’ of it.

The top five articles currently of most interest to panel members are:

  1. Local information
  2. News in Brief
  3. What’s On
  4. Contact Information
  5. Feature stories.

This information is extremely helpful to us for structuring the magazine in the future. The table below shows how Calderdale Call is rated overall:

Overall rating
Very good 18.1%
Good 71.1%
Not very good 9.8%
Poor 1%

Over 85% of respondents prefer to receive the magazine as paper copy rather than email.

Calderdale Drug & Alcohol Action Team (CDAAT)

This section of the questionnaire was asking respondents to what extent drug use in the community affects their lives as well as helping us to monitor how people’s perceptions of these problems are changing over time.

The following table shows the percentage of respondents who either occasionally or frequently see the following drug related problems:

Problem % of respondents
Discarded needles and syringes 29%
Drug dealing 42%
People under the influence of drugs 59%

Over 40% of panel members think that heroin / crack cocaine use affects their community to some extent, with 15% having either themselves, or a member of their family, been a victim of drug related crime. 12% of respondents have either friends or relations directly affected by heroin or crack cocaine use.

A pleasing 41% currently know how to access drug treatment services. For future reference the contact numbers and opening hours of the Access Treatment Services are given in the You Said, We did section of this Newsletter.

Culture and entertainment

Calderdale and its surrounding districts provide a wide range of leisure activities. This section of the survey was to find out what you think of the cultural and entertainment venues and how often you visit them.

The 3 most visited venues attended in the last three years were:

  1. Victoria Theatre, Halifax - 65%
  2. Piece Hall, Halifax - 39%
  3. The Alhambra, Bradford - 36%.

We then concentrated our questions on those respondents who have visited the Victoria Theatre. Over half of these visited the Victoria Theatre on average once or twice a year, around a quarter visited less than once a year, around a sixth visited three or four times a year, with the remainder (around 3%) visiting more than four times.

The 3 most popular types of performances at the Victoria theatre were:

  1. Rock and pop music - 37%
  2. Pantomime - 29%
  3. Musicals - 22%.

We then asked how satisfied panellists were with the shows and facilities at the Victoria Theatre. The table below displays these results:

Satisfaction with facilities
Facility Very Satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Very dissatisfied Don't know
Box office opening times 27.0% 63.6% 2.5% - 6.9%
Ease of online booking 15.4% 32.5% 2.8% 0.2% 49.1%
Information on the website 13.0% 38.7% 3.0% 0.4% 44.9%
Customer Service 25.4% 63.5% 1.9% 0.2% 9.0%
Seating comfort 8.5% 66.9% 19.9% 3.5% 1.2%
Bar and kiosk facilities 8.4% 62.9% 18.6% 2.6% 7.5%
Quality and variety of shows 25.1% 64.8% 6.9% 0.3% 2.9%
View of the stage 15.1% 74.1% 8.3% 1.5% 1.0%
Acoustics 17.5% 84.6% 8.7% 2.4% 2.8%

Thank you for the many suggestions for changes and improvements – these will be used to help improve the facilities we provide at the Victoria Theatre.

Healthy Minds

‘Healthy Minds’, a new community organisation set up by the Calderdale Primary Care Trust, asked the panel their views on the proposed well-being centre to be set up in Halifax in 2009. The centre will address issues relating to mental distress in the area, providing information and advice on mental health and well-being services.

When asked which services the panel would like to see provided at the centre the five most requested were:

  1. Information and advice
  2. Counselling
  3. Support for finding work
  4. Opportunities to get involved in self-help groups
  5. Help in finding and using other services.

We also asked how likely panel members, and their friends or relatives, are to use a centre providing these services. Responses were fairly evenly divided, with 29% replying 'Yes', 32% 'No', and 39% 'Don't know'.

Support was also shown for similar part time services in other parts of the Borough including: Brighouse, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Elland and Todmorden.

Piece Hall

Once again panel members were asked to help with ideas and views for the Piece Hall, this time exploring the cultural and commercial development opportunities.

The questions asked in this section allowed panellists to use their imagination and even asked them to provide us with sketches and drawings of what they would like to see in the Piece Hall in the future. The ideas and drawings that we received were an inspiration with many varied and innovative ideas - unfortunately too many to show in this Newsletter. Among the suggestions were:

  • Large stage
  • Fountain / water feature
  • More flowers / grassed area
  • Quality shops
  • Seating area
  • Take ideas from Covent Garden.

Planning ahead

The Planning Policy team of Calderdale Council are currently developing a Local Development Framework which will set the planning structure for issues such as housing, the local economy, the environment and transport. To help them with this project the team asked the panel how important it is to them to have certain services within walking distance of their home.

The responses were:

Importance placed on having services close to home
Service % Important % Not important
Nursery school 88 12
Primary school 91 9
Secondary school 66 34
GP Surgery 92 8
Health clinic 82 18
Dentist 71 29
Post Office 94 6
Bank/Building society 65 35
Supermarket 60 40
Pub/Restaurant 50 50
Shops 89 11
Library 77 23
Community Centre 73 27
Place of Worship 61 39
Sports Hall/Centre/Swimming pool 61 39
Sports ground 59 31
Local Public park/Play area 91 9
Regular bus services 98 2
Train Station 78 12
Place of work 54 46

Panellists also supplied us with ideas for additional services such as: Police Station, Cash machines, Youth clubs to name a few.

Practice Plus

Calderdale Primary Care Trust (PCT) has been looking at GP services in the area and it has been shown that Calderdale needs more GP services to support its local population. ‘Practice Plus’ is the scheme which will bring more GP services into the area. In this section of the survey the PCT asked panellists their views on the plans to provide more GP services.

The table below indicates the percentage of panellists who would/would not support the new plans for the area:

Do you agree with our plans for GP services?
Plan Agree Disagree Need more information
a) provide additional GP services in Calderdale? 80.0% 2.2% 16.0%
b) open on weekends? 82.2% 6.2% 8.3%
c) open from 8:00am to 8:00pm? 83.5% 4.8% 7.2%
d) provide a Walk in Centre in Calderdale? 72.1% 5.6% 18.6%

Health information and previous consultation work has enabled Calderdale PCT to identify the areas which are most in need of additional GP services. The responses given by the panel will add to this information to help the PCT prioritise which areas are most in need of these additional medical services.

A large amount of information was provided by the panellists about what services they would like to see in these centres, in addition to GP services. Some of the most requested were: dentist; physiotherapist; optician; chiropodist; pharmacist; counselling; and alternative therapies.

where does your money go?

In this section colleagues in the Finance section asked panel members what sort of financial information would be of interest to them. Each year the Council spends almost half a billion pounds providing services and we think you should know how this money is spent.

90% of respondents said they would like to receive a leaflet of 8 pages or less containing user-friendly financial information.

The majority of panel members said they would be interested in summarised information rather than financial detail, preferring words and explanations to figures and graphs. The table below shows the type of financial reporting respondents would be interested in:

Preferred financial breakdown
Type of reporting Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree Don't know
Cost of running Council services 46.4% 52.3% 0.5% 0% 0.8%
How that breaks down into pay, premises etc. 41.3% 49.8% 7.0% 0.1% 1.8%
Where the money comes from to pay for this 44.1% 52.6% 2.3% 0.2% 0.8%
How much is spent on building projects etc. 45.9% 51.0% 2.0% 0.1% 1.0%
Funds held to support future expenditure 36.3% 58.4% 2.7% 0.3% 2.3%


You said, we did

In our spring 2009 edition we asked questions relating to our Winter Road Maintenance Service. Several issues were raised to help us improve our service – below are a few of these issues and the actions we have taken to improve our service to the residents of Calderdale.

You said: ‘There ought to be more pavements treated and in quicker time. The elderly felt trapped in their homes.’
We did –  From this winter the Council has provided an additional £45,000 to provide additional salting and snow clearance on pavements near schools, nurseries, doctors’ surgeries, residential care homes and other establishments visited by vulnerable people. Additional resources have been placed on standby to ensure that we can respond much faster to clear pavements and pedestrian areas.

It is very important to us that we act quickly and efficiently to clear pavements and areas where the safety of residents is compromised. By putting these additional resources in place we hope to ensure that our streets and pavements are as safe as possible during any snowy / icy weather conditions.

If there are any specific streets or roads in your local area that need attention during the bad weather this can be reported to the Council’s contact Centre on 01422 288001. All calls will be registered and attended to wherever possible.

You said: ‘There should be more salt bins so that people can help themselves to salt roads and pavements.’
We did –  From this winter an additional 100 salt bins have been provided at locations which need them most, bringing the total number up to 600. Over 75 salt bins have been removed from places which do not really need a bin and relocated to more needy locations.

Salt bins and piles are generally provided for drivers of vehicles to spread salt on the carriageway as an aid to traction in icy or snow conditions. The salt is also often used by residents to spread on footways as well. By increasing the number of salt bins and, in some cases relocating them to areas of most need, we hope to improve our service to you.

Panel retirement

We would like to say a big 'thank you' to all our panel members for supporting us over the last three years. Membership of the panel is fully refreshed every three years, in line with market research practice, to eliminate bias and ensure a good cross section of residents is given the opportunity to be represented on the panel.

Data protection and you

As we are bound by law under the Data Protection Act and by the Market Research Code of Conduct, we have to ensure that Talkback is carried out in an ethical manner which ensures confidentiality and protection of personal data.

Calderdale Engage

If you wish to know more about, or be involved with, other community consultations in Calderdale, visit: Calderdale Engage: Community consultations .

The printable version of this newsletter is available to download: PDFAutumn 2008 Talkback Newsletter. [PDF 822KB]

Contact details

If you have any questions regarding the panel, please let us know by contacting: