Spring 2010


‘Welcome’ to the first edition of our Newsletter for 2010 and a big ‘thank you’ to all panel members who completed and returned our Autumn 2009 survey. We hope you enjoy completing our new 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

The panel completed 3 surveys in 2009. This provided us with a large amount of information to help us make improvements to our services and provisions, in ways that are important to the residents of Calderdale.

Inside this issue

The autumn survey contained four topics on issues and initiatives relating to both services provided by Calderdale Council and services provided by NHS Calderdale. The results are summarised in the following pages and the topics covered include:

Employment in Calderdale

The Council is taking action to help local people and businesses address some of the problems caused by the current recession. These are programmes to help people into work, improve their skills and encourage new business start ups. To make sure we are addressing these issues in the correct way we need to know the problems you are facing and what we can do to help.

The first question asked was to find out the number of respondents in work / looking for employment. The table shows the responses to this question:

Respondents in work / looking for employment
Work Situation % of respondents

In employment and not looking for work


In employment and looking for work


Unemployed and looking for work


Not in employment and not looking for work


On incapacity benefit and looking for work


Permanently retired from work



Over a third of respondents (35%) said they would like to improve their skills or qualifications to increase their potential for finding employment. We asked where they would look to help gain these skills - the following responses were given (please note the percent figures do not total 100 as more than one response was possible):

  • 52% would look to Calderdale College
  • 27% would look to other local colleges
  • 46% would look to local Universities
  • 57% would look to Adult Learning

We then asked where panel members would look to find new job opportunities. The most popular response was to use the Internet followed by Newspapers, Specialist publications and lastly Job Centre Plus.

Just over 14% of panellists said they would be interested in receiving help to start their own businesses.

To try to understand what the main barriers are to finding a new job we then asked panel members about their experiences with this. Here are some of the responses given:

  • Age!
  • Childcare
  • No jobs available
  • Cost of improvement / qualifications
  • Disability
  • The recession
  • Having to travel outside the borough of Calderdale
  • Lack of confidence
  • Poor salaries for qualified people
  • Lack of employers
  • Specialist area, not enough opportunities

NHS dental care

NHS dentistry continues to be available in Calderdale for a large number of people. The questions we asked the panel in this section were to help us understand their experiences when visiting the dentist and tell us where we can make improvements to the service.

Over 65% of respondents said they currently have a NHS dentist, with 7% saying they do not currently have one, but would like one. More than 83% said they have visited the dentist in the last twelve months, of which 81% visited for a regular check up and 10% visited due to having specific trouble with their teeth.

Chart depicting difficulty in getting routine dental care

84% said they do not have trouble getting regular dental care but 10% do find this difficult. The main reasons for difficulty are cost (21.6%)or not enough dentists taking new patients (17.7%).

Other reasons were lack of time or dentists' opening hours (15.4%), dentists only treating privately (14.6%), lack of a local dentist (13.1%), fear of dentists or the treatment (11.5%), and difficulty making the journey (6.1%). These responses are illustrated in the graph.

7% found it difficult to get care if they had specific problems, again due to cost or lack of time. Over 55% of these respondents have found it necessary in the past to use other facilities (eg. Doctor, A&E, Pharmacy) when they experienced dental problems.

Almost 80% of panellists with a child under the age of eighteen have not had any problems in getting dental care for their child; however 8% have experienced problems in this area.

Chart depicting cleanliness and comfort of dentist's surgery

For cleanliness, 80.7% found the dentists' surgeries very good, 18.6% fairly good, and only 0.7% found them fairly poor.

For comfort, 67.9% found the surgeries very good, 28.7% fairly good, 3.1% fairly poor and 0.3% very poor. The graph illustrates how “Clean and Comfortable” patients find their dental surgeries.

Almost 97% of patients said the dentist helped to put them at ease during their visit with a similar number saying that the dentist explained everything to them, including any treatment they needed.

If you would like to attend an NHS dentist please contact the PCT Dental Helpline on 01422 281576.

Physical activity

Calderdale Council believes that it is important to provide opportunities for its residents to take part in activities which improve their health, fitness and general well-being. The questions asked in this section will help us to assess your needs with regard to physical activity.

Almost 61% of respondents said they do not undertake as much physical activity as they would like to, and 68% said they do not undertake as much physical activity as they think they should.

The 3 main reasons which prevent people from doing regular physical activity are:

  • not enough time
  • costs involved
  • work pressures

However respondents did say that if they had a choice they would most like to undertake exercise by either swimming or individual walks.

We then asked how you are most likely to find out about physical activity sessions and sport in your area.

By far the most popular choice was the internet, at 22.3%.

  • 15.9% would look in a local newspaper
  • 13.8% preferred an information leaflet or flyer
  • 13.7% to visit a facility
  • 2.9% would ask a friend or family, and
  • 10.2% would visit a local library

The remaining options (telephone, email, or contacting the sports development unit) were together favoured by around 11% of respondents. The graph shows these preferred options.

Chart depicting preferred means of finding information on sports provision

Understanding our customers

In Autumn 2008 a national survey – the Place Survey – was carried out by every Local Authority to help us understand the views of residents about local public services and the place in which they live. We now want to explore further the reasons why residents have concerns about certain issues.

Section A: Local services

Firstly we asked what one thing panellists would choose to improve their satisfaction with three specific services. The most popular responses for each service are shown below:

Street cleaning

  • Bins, chewing gum, graffiti
  • Increased, regular cleaning
  • Natural / seasonal waste clearance.


  • Anti-social behaviour / security
  • Improved facilities
  • Improved maintenance / cleaning.

Sports facilities

  • Better facilities / accessibility
  • Fine as they are
  • Pools.

Over 81% of panellists said they are satisfied with their local area as a place to live. When asked what one change would make them more satisfied with their local area as a place to live the two most common themes were:

  • Better street cleaning, less rubbish, dog fouling, recycling.
  • Council and residents take pride in the area, less new housing, building on green belt, tidy up buildings / gardens.

Similarly we then asked what one factor they think would lead to people from different backgrounds getting on well together. The most common theme here was linked to better education to counteract any lack of understanding together with more relevant events and activities.

The things that panellists said they believe would help them feel that they can influence decisions affecting their local area were (2 most popular themes):

  • Councillors: need to be more accessible, to listen more and respond to queries; more surgeries.
  • Councillors: be able to set aside party politics and focus on customer issues.

Just over a quarter (27%) of panellists believe that Calderdale Council provides value for money, with 34% disagreeing with this. Almost 35% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the value for money aspect. Two of the main reasons for dissatisfaction were:

  • Councillors should ask the public first, listen to what they say and then take the decisions; Councillors should be more accountable and transparent.
  • Council tax too high and not put to best use; pay consultants / executives too much; poor financial management.

Panel members were then asked to consider - taking everything into account - how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with the way the Council runs things. Over 40% said they are very or fairly satisfied, 27% are very or fairly dissatisfied with 31% saying they are neither satisfied or dissatisfied.

We once again then asked what one change the panellists would make to make them more satisfied with the way Calderdale Council runs things. Listed below are the two most cited changes respondents would make:

  • issues with Councillors and their decisions; more accountable.
  • listen to what the public say; be transparent and more accessible; use more consultation.

Section B: Children & Young People’s Services

Firstly panellists were asked how important it is to them that there is provision of activities for teenagers and facilities for young children, both in their local area and Calderdale-wide.

The answers, illustrated in the graphs below, show that both these issues have attracted strong support with providing activities for teenagers being the stronger. This reflects the results of the Place Survey of 2008.

Chart illustrating importance of providing facilities for children and teenagers

The detailed responses are: provision of activities for teenagers in the local area was rated very important by 54.0% of respondents, 23.2% rated it fairly important, 6.9% rated it not very important, 2.5% not important at all and 13.4% don't know.

In Calderdale, 55.0% rated activities for teenagers very important, 22.6% fairly important, 5.2% not very important, 2.2% not important at all and 15% don't know.

Activities for young children in the local area were considered very important by 41.1%, fairly important by 24.1%, not very important by 14.8%, not important at all by 2.3% and 17.7% don't know. In Calderdale, activities for young children were rated very important by 40.8%, fairly important by 25.2%, not very important by 12.9% and not important at all by 2.1%, with a don't know response from 19% of respondents.

39% of respondents feel that parents take sufficient responsibility for the behaviour of their children. Just over 47% feel that teenagers hanging around the streets is a problem in their local area, compared to 64% who feel this is a problem Calderdale-wide. A significant proportion of those who think this is a problem say this happens in the evening rather than the day time, but the day time occurrences almost double at the weekends.

You said, we did

In our Spring 2008 edition we included some follow up questions after carrying out our Road Safety Seat belt campaign.

You said: you had seen the signs and posters advertising the campaign and were more aware / understood the need to wear seat belts.

We did....compared the results of this survey to similar questions asked at the start of the campaign, to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.

The survey work showed that a positive attitudinal change was observed in both compliance rates and a clearer understanding of the need to comply with seatbelt wearing regulations.

The Calderdale campaign was so successful in reducing “Killed and Seriously Injured car occupant” casualties, that the remaining 4 authorities that make up West Yorkshire adopted their own version of the campaign. The Talkback panel were instrumental in allowing the authority to understand the types of strategy it would need to adopt to ensure the changes needed in attitude would happen.

In the Autumn 2008 edition we asked you questions on the “A – Z Guide to public services” which we distribute to every household in the borough.

You said: the guide was a useful addition to the household but you would like to see more contact details and more website links included.

We did......reviewed the content of the guide and made some additions to make it easier for you to contact us when you need to.

After we published our last A - Z Guide to Services, we asked members of the Talkback panel what they thought, what they found useful and what they would like us to do differently next time around.

When the new A-Z of Services is published in 2010, it is hoped we can include many of the suggestions Talkback panellists made, including more email addresses and direct links to useful website pages. The new Guide will be out in the summer, and we will be asking for your views again later in the year.

Calderdale Engage

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

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.

Printable version

A printable version of this newsletter is available to download:

PDFSpring 2010 Talkback Newsletter [PDF 594KB] 

Contact details

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