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Survey reveals public concerns over York council
CITY leaders are failing to help create jobs, boost York’s economy or improve bus services, according to residents in a city-wide poll.
The results of City of York Council’s Big York Survey have also showed only a quarter of the 2,700 residents who took part believe they can influence decision-making in the city, while satisfaction with the authority’s performance has fallen. Street-cleaning, road and pavement maintenance and traffic flow have been identified as areas where improvement is needed.
The ruling Labour group, whose cabinet will discuss the findings next week, now plans to hold a public meeting in each of York’s 22 council wards over the next year through a “community conversations” initiative.
The poll showed 57 per cent of respondents do not know who their local councillor is. The Liberal Democrats said the survey showed Labour must rethink how it runs the council.
The poll found 89 per cent of residents were “satisfied or very satisfied” with life in York, but almost half felt they did not have a say on local decisions and that York’s bus service was not improving, much higher than those who felt the opposite.
Meanwhile, 45 per cent of residents believed the council was not doing well in supporting job creation, compared with 26 per cent who were happy with its performance, and 51 per cent said street cleanliness should be the authority’s top city-centre priority.
Chief executive Kersten England said the survey was part of “our commitment to continuous improvement” in services amid “unprecedented challenges” and funding cuts. She said: “We are taking action to address the areas of improvement identified as part of our ongoing drive to get the best for our residents and the city.”
Council leader James Alexander said Labour would hold more local public meetings than any previous ruling party, saying: “I want to hear what residents have to say directly and have proper face-to-face conversations and a meaningful dialogue about what is important to them and how we secure the best future for residents in all our communities.”
However, Lib Dem leader Keith Aspden said the poll was “a clear message” to Labour that it was failing to deliver basic services, and said the abolition of ward committees meant residents no longer felt they had a voice.
The first of Labour's ward meetings will be held in mid-November, with a list of dates and wards being published shortly.
Next week's cabinet meeting will also discuss the findings of the council's LGA Peer Review, a "health-check" on its performance by members and senior officials from other local authorities, and its biannual staff survey, which has indicated more of its staff feel they are given the chance to make decisions and that they get support from their managers and colleagues. However, it also said increased workloads because of job cuts within the authority was an "ongoing concern".
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