Autumn 2009


Welcome to the Autumn 2009 edition of our Newsletter and a big thank you to all panel members who completed and returned our Summer 2009 survey. We hope you enjoy completing our Autumn survey as it will help us to shape and improve policies and services in Calderdale in the way you would like us to.

Surveys in 2009

Since joining the panel earlier this year our new panellists have already been asked to complete two surveys. The spring edition included questions on a variety of topics, results of which are detailed in this Newsletter. The summer survey was a ‘special edition’ as this included questions exclusively on NHS Calderdale issues. Results for this edition will be given later in a separate Newsletter.

Inside this issue

The spring survey contained eight topics on issues and initiatives relating to Council services in Calderdale. The results are summarised in the following pages and the topics covered include:

Alcohol awareness

The Drug and Alcohol Action team, along with partner organisations, annually monitor the views of residents to provide them with a picture of how drugs and alcohol are impacting on residents, their families and neighbourhoods across Calderdale. This information helps the team to plan and deploy resources to reduce the harm caused by drugs and alcohol across the Borough.

Initially the questions focussed on the sale and consumption of alcohol to people under 18 years of age. When asked who they would contact with concerns of a shopkeeper selling to under 18’s, 56% said they would contact the Police, 14% Calderdale Licensing Unit and 9% West Yorkshire Trading Standards. 18% of respondents replied ‘Don’t know’ to this question.

When asked what measures should be undertaken to combat under-age alcohol sales the two most supported measures were:

  • Tougher penalties for those permitting under-age sales
  • Tougher proof-of-age requirements.

40% of respondents think adults buying alcohol for under-age drinkers is a problem within Calderdale.

A similar response to the above was received when panellists were asked who they would contact with concerns about licensed premises – Police (51%), Calderdale Council Licensing Unit (25%) and West Yorkshire Trading standards (4%). Again a significant number of respondents did not know who to contact with these concerns (16%).

We next asked the panellists if they see any alcohol related problems in the Calderdale area. Only 8% of panellists have not seen any problems. Problems seen by the rest of the panel were: discarded bottles (27%), people drinking in streets or parks (21%), people under the influence of alcohol (18%), alcohol related violence or anti-social behaviour (18%), and people under 18 years old drinking or purchasing alcohol (16%). The graph below displays these responses.

Percentage witness to alcohol related problems

The panellists were then asked if they, or any of their friends, have been directly affected by a number of alcohol related ‘harms’. Just over 40% of respondents said they had been affected in one or more of the ways listed. Of those affected, 32% were affected by crime and anti-social behaviour, 27% were affected by harms to health, 25% were affected by social harms (e.g. family breakdown) and 16% by absence in the workplace. The graph below illustrates how these responses were distributed:

Percentages affected by alcohol 'harms'

53% of respondents said they would know how to access alcohol treatment services if they needed help. Of these, 59% said they would contact their GP, 35% would contact the Helpline and 6% would contact Social Services for the help they needed.

Building schools for the future

As part of the government’s ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme, all of Calderdale’s secondary schools will be rebuilt or remodelled over the next ten years. A key aim of the programme is that schools should serve their communities by offering a wide range of services within the school facilities. These services would be staffed by various agencies on the school premises. When asked which services the panel members would like to access in this way the top five services were:

  • Adult Education
  • Sporting provision
  • Citizen’s Advice
  • The Police
  • Health Information services.

Over 40% of respondents said they would be interested in helping us plan such a facility, preferably by answering a more detailed questionnaire but over 25% were willing to be more involved by being part of a group which meets regularly or attending a one-off meeting.

Calderdale markets

The Council’s market service currently provides and manages retail markets throughout the district. The markets are currently located in Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Elland, Hebden Bridge, Brighouse and Todmorden.

The market service regularly needs to assess the part the markets play in every day life in the town centres. The questions set in this part of the survey will help them with this assessment.

Respondents' preferences for the types of market they prefer to shop in (more than one response was possible here) were: Indoor 62.2%, Outdoor 51.5%, Car Boot Sales 14.6%, and Specialist Markets 30.2%. 18.8% had no preference,and 5.8% said none. The graph below illustrates these preferences.

Percentages of types of market visited

86% of panellists said they visited any or all of the markets in Calderdale, and of these, over 52% have shopped there for over 20 years, 43% between 1 and 20 years and 5% for less than 12 months.

Of those that shop in the markets 95% said they think it is important to have markets in Calderdale. The list below shows which markets are used most often by respondents:

  • Borough Market, Halifax 64%
  • Todmorden 10%
  • Elland 9%
  • Hebden Bridge 8%
  • Brighouse 7%
  • Sowerby Bridge 2%.

In general the most popular day for visiting the markets is Saturday with the exception of Hebden Bridge where Thursday appears as the most popular day.

We then asked panellists how satisfied they are that the markets that they visit meet their shopping requirements. The satisfaction levels vary from nearly 90% being satisfied with fresh produce, between 60 and 70% being satisfied with general food items, cards and stationery and household goods, between 40 and 45% satisfied with specialist goods, clothing and cafes and restaurants, and the lowest satisfaction levels being with second hand goods at 32%.

As far as dissatisfaction goes, the highest levels were with clothing, cafes and restaurants, and specialist goods, with percentages from 15 to just over 20%, there was between 7 and 12% dissatisfaction with general food items, household goods. second hand goods and cards and stationery, and the least dissatisfaction was with fresh produce at just over 4%. The graph below illustrates these findings.

Percentage satisfied with goods

61% of respondents feel the extent to which they shop at Calderdale markets has stayed the same in the last 12 months, with 21% showing a decrease and 16% showing an increase in market shopping.

The three main forms of transport to the markets are by private car (66%), by foot (17%) and by bus (15%). 60% of respondents travel less than three miles when they visit the markets, with 39% travelling between three and ten miles to do their market shop. 43% of panellists are satisfied with the parking facilities at the markets but 36% remain dissatisfied with the parking arrangements at the market they visit.

The majority of market shoppers say the average amount spent at the markets has stayed about, the same recently with 16% seeing an increase and 20% decreasing the amount spent at the markets. Cash payment is by far the most preferred method of payment at the markets (89%), with much smaller numbers preferring to pay by debit or credit card.

The survey then concentrated on those respondents who said they do not visit the markets in Calderdale. We asked these panel members the reasons why they do not visit the markets. The main reason given was that respondents only shop at high streets/supermarkets or large retail outlets (47%), around a third have a low opinion of the range or quality of products, or concerns about parking. Around a fifth don't like the surroundings or market environment, or the accessibility, 8% have a low opinion of customer service offered, and 6% were not aware of their existence. The graph below shows their responses.

Percentages of reasons for not visiting markets

Drug related issues

As with the alcohol related problems on the previous page, the Drugs and Alcohol Action team need to monitor the frequency with which residents see, or come into contact with, factors related to drug use in the community.

When asked if panellists see any drug related problems in their local area the following responses were given:

  • Discarded needles or syringes 25%
  • Drug dealing 41%
  • People under the influence of drugs 51%.

Over 31% of respondents said that heroin / crack cocaine use affects their community, with 11% having themselves, or a member of their family, been a victim of drug related crime.

8% of the respondents feel their friends or relations have been directly affected by heroin or crack cocaine use. Only 43% would know how to access drug treatment services.

For future reference, anyone wanting help or advice with drug or alcohol problems can visit or ring the Calderdale Substance Misuse Open Access Service.

This Open Access Service is based at Harrison House, 10 Harrison Road, Halifax and can be contacted by telephone on: 01422 361111 or 0800 0283901. No appointment or referral is necessary.

The Open Access Service can provide information on the full range of services available in Calderdale, alternatively anyone wanting information can visit their local GP surgery.

Museums and galleries

Approximately 80% of panel members are aware the Council runs a Museums and Galleries service. 39% of respondents have not visited any of the museums or galleries in the last 12 months but of those that have, the greatest number (72%) visited the Piece Hall, followed by Shibden Hall with 53%, Bankfield Museum (39%), Smith Art Gallery (15%) and Heptonstall Museum (10%). The percentages do not total 100 as more than one response was possible.

59% of respondents are aware that all museums and galleries (with the exception of Shibden Hall) have free admissions and over 96% feel that it is important for Calderdale to present its history and heritage to local people and visitors in this way.

In order to measure how effective our publicity campaigns are we asked panel members what type of publicity they have seen relating to museums and galleries. The most popular media was Newspapers (48%) followed by Events and Exhibitions Guides(39%) and Fliers (26%).

When asked why panellists do not visit the museums and galleries more frequently, some of the main reasons were lack of time, lack of interest and lack of information about the exhibitions and events available.

When you get in touch with us

In order to understand how we can improve the service residents receive when they get in touch with us, we asked a number of questions on how and when the panel members would prefer to contact the Council.

49% said they would prefer to contact us by phone, 35% by website or email and 16% face-to-face. By far the most popular time to contact us is Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm (55%) but a significant proportion (30%) also said that they would like to be able to contact the council after 5pm on weekdays. 7% would like contact to be available on Saturday mornings with less than 5% preferring other times – the graph below shows these preferences.

Percentage preference of contact time

We then asked what annoys the panellists most about getting in touch with the Council and what one thing we could do to improve this experience. The responses we received to these questions were frank and candid, some examples were:

  • Being on hold for a long time
  • Being passed from one person to another
  • Use / expense of 0845 number
  • Press 1 2 for... etc
  • More phone lines needed
  • Return calls when asked
  • Answer phones faster
  • Better trained staff to answer queries.

All these responses will be analysed carefully and, where possible, improvement plans will be put in place to overcome the things that residents find annoying when trying to contact us. Panellists also provided us with an inspiring list of companies that they have received a really good service from. We shall be investigating these examples and taking ideas from them to help make your contact with the Council a more pleasant experience.

Winter road maintenance service

The Council’s Winter road maintenance service provides precautionary salting on all classified roads and major routes through the towns and villages in the borough. The service also deals with requests from the public to deal with snow and ice in problem areas. The questions asked in this section were to help us ensure the service is effective and provides the type of service the residents of Calderdale need. We asked panellists how satisfied they are with the service in three main areas. The three areas under consideration were:

in your local neighbourhood
on main roads
in town centres.

The table and graph below show the panellists’ level of satisfaction with the winter road maintenance service. This shows that respondents are the most satisfied with the treatment and clearance of main roads but are least satisfied with footway treatment and clearance on main roads. Satisfaction with the clearance of footways is highest for the town centre pathways. Less than 20% of respondents are satisfied with the provision and effectiveness of salt bins and piles across the Borough.

% satisfaction with Winter service
Service Local neighbourhood Main roads Town centres
Proportion of roads treated  60% 82% 71%
Speed of treatment of roads 60% 79% 70%
Effectiveness of road snow clearance 56% 76% 69%
Proportion of footways treated 14% 26% 38%
Speed of footway snow clearance 12% 25% 37%
Effectiveness of footway snow clearance 14% 26% 36%
The number of salt bins and piles 17% n/a n/a
Effectiveness of salt bins and piles 20% n/a n/a
Effectiveness of the service in car parks n/a n/a 29%


Bar chart illustrating satisfaction with Winter Service

Please note the last 3 categories on the graph only pertain to a single area (eg. Local neighbourhood or town centres).

Prior to completing the questionnaire only 18% of panel members knew where to ring to request help from the Winter Road Maintenance Service. For future reference, requests for clearing ice and snow can be made to the service as follows:


Only 10% of respondents have reported a problem with snow or ice in the last 12 months. Of those who have reported a problem, regarding response times nearly 21% were "very" or "fairly" satisfied, just over 3% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and just over 43% were "fairly" or "very" dissatisfied, with the remainder not replying or not applicable. With regard to the effectiveness of the response, nearly 17% were "very" or "fairly" satisfied, just over 4% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and 42.5% were "fairly" or "very" dissatisfied, with the remainder not replying or not applicable. This is further illustrated by the graph:

Percentage satisfaction with reporting problems

Approximately 50% of respondents were interested in receiving further information about the Winter Road Maintenance Service with the majority (65%) preferring to receive this information by leaflet and 39% via the local press.

A wide variety of comments were received on the service, some of which can be seen here:

  • “pavements extremely dangerous – forcing people to walk on road edges”
  • “look after schools, hospitals and emergency services first”
  • “roads ok but not very effective on most footpaths”
  • “my cobbled street was never cleared and the salt bins were not topped up”
  • “I am happy with the services that affect me”
  • “all footpaths were dangerous to walk on”
  • “there should be more grit boxes, if requested”
  • “more emphasis should be given to minor / residential roads as well as the major routes".

You said, we did

In our summer 2009 special edition of Talkback, Calderdale NHS (formerly Calderdale Primary Care Trust) asked you your views on ‘Transforming Community Services’. This early engagement with the public on transforming community services was intended to inform the public that changes were taking place and to identify the level of influence the public would want on future commissioning arrangements in NHS Calderdale.

You said: you would like to be informed and in some instances involved in the commissioning of local services.
We did....listen to what residents said they would like and ensure NHS Calderdale priorities match the requirements of their customers.

The majority of people said they would like more information on how we commission our services. The aspect most people wanted to actively take part in is related to how our money is spent. The top 5 priorities the public think NHS Calderdale should take into account when providing public services are:

  • Free parking
  • Near good public transport networks
  • Friendly and polite staff
  • Being able to choose appointment times and visits to suit
  • A clean and comfortable environment.

These priorities mirror the findings from other recent consultations and will be taken into account when proposals and suggestions are put forward to the Steering Group dealing with future commissioning arrangements.

To fully understand what should be taken into account when we are looking at buying services on your behalf a vast range of responses were given. All these comments have been collated into eight main themes which we will consider in our future plans, these being:

  • Access and waiting times
  • In particular the length of time to get an appointment, the amount of time kept waiting and the response time. Telephone access is also an issue for some and relates to automated and non local numbers being used.
  • Staff and staff attitude
  • Comments around staff being well trained and skilled to do the job/enough time to perform duties well.
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Key themes included language used and spoken, disability access and more care for the elderly.
  • Better coordination of services
  • This related to continuity of staff and sharing information between services. Concerns also expressed that services based outside the local area may not meet local needs.
  • Value for money
  • Most comments wanted value for money but not at the expense of poor services. Cost and quality need to be balanced.
  • Involving people
  • Better information and communication on changes is needed so people can make informed decisions.
  • Transport and parking
  • Transport and cost of parking is a top priority for the public.
  • Quality
  • Quality of service required from clean buildings, welcoming staff to well monitored services.

Further feedback on these NHS issues will be given in future Newsletters.

In our summer 2008 edition of Talkback we asked you your views on, and experiences with, the ‘culture and entertainment’ facilities across the borough.

You said: which entertainment venues you visit in Calderdale, how often and which types of performance you most like to see. You also told us how satisfied you are with the shows and facilities at the Victoria Theatre.

We did.... the results from ‘Talkback’ have proved invaluable in updating our understanding of customers’ perceptions of the Victoria Theatre and have provided additional evidence to support our Development and Service Improvement Plans.

The Victoria Theatre operates in a very competitive market and it is essential that we are focused in our communications to attract our customers. Evidence-based strategies are at the core of our entire decision making, informed in part by the findings arising from usage and attitude surveys – including the results from Talkback.

Using Talkback, we were able to gauge the proportion of people who come to the Victoria Theatre compared to other venues in the surrounding areas, how often they visit the theatre, together with their choice of entertainment preferences. We were able to assess satisfaction ratings over a number of attributes underpinning the ‘theatre experience’ and respondents were given the opportunity to feedback suggestions to us about how we can improve our service. These suggestions will be looked at closely and incorporated into our plans to improve the service in a way that our customers would like to see it over the coming months.

In our spring 2008 edition of Talkback, we asked the panel their opinions on the ‘Partnership for Older People’s’ Project’ (POPP’s). This project was designed in conjunction with partner organisations and older people to focus on improving the health and well-being of people over fifty in Calderdale.

You said: only a relatively small number of panellists had heard of, or used, the services at the time of the survey. However a significant number said they would be interested in using them in the future.
We did..... incorporated the Talkback results with other work carried out to assess the service. Feedback was sought from people over fifty and practitioners in Calderdale.

The Calderdale Partnership for Older People’s project has been a great success. Over 3500 people over fifty have received a POPP’s service over the full two years of the programme. The Council and the Primary Care Trust have funded all of the projects and, whilst they are not known as the POPP’s pilots anymore, you will still see the individual services under their own titles, these being:

  • Handyperson Service
  • Home from Hospital
  • Falls Prevention
  • Health and Wellbeing of Carers
  • Neighbourhood Schemes.

All these schemes are still providing support or activities in your area. We have already seen the many benefits of providing these types of support for people, to enable them to continue living active lives, in their own homes.

Your home and neighbourhood

This set of questions is to help us understand more about the reasons people have for being satisfied or dissatisfied with their home and the neighbourhood in which they live.

A very high proportion (94%) said they are satisfied with their accommodation, with 85% being satisfied with their local area as a place to live.

When asked the reasons for their satisfaction with the local area we had a large response, some of which are listed here:

  • Clean air, beautiful views
  • Easy access to amenities, quiet neighbourhood
  • Too many speeding motorists pass our entrance
  • Nice neighbours, everyone friendly
  • It’s lovely
  • Quiet, respectable and tidy, people are pleasant
  • I have lived here for 40 years, I love my home
  • Nice area, good schools
  • Area is deteriorating, lack of investment.

Calderdale Engage

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

Data protection and the panel

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.

Printable version

A PDF of this newsletter is available to download: PDFAutumn 2009 Talkback Newsletter [PDF 2083KB] 

Contact details:

If you have any questions regarding the Talkback panel, please contact: