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Leader thanks Citizens' Panel for their views

2nd November 2017

Resident's from across the Highlands have provided positive feedback to the council's latest Citizen's Panel survey. Each year the panel of just over 2300 adults are asked for their views on the performance of the council and to provide information on their attitudes to a range of issues affecting them, their families and their neighbourhoods.

With nearly a thousand responses, it provides important information, which helps councillors set priorities and assists with the current programme of Council redesign - aimed at providing better services, more efficiently.

Leader of the Council Margaret Davidson said: "I would like to thank members of the Citizens’ Panel for their participation and their views. This is extremely useful and valuable information. We want to provide the best possible services for residents, tailored to their priorities. This information helps us make sure we are responding to those priorities.

"For example, the Council continues to work hard to bring decision-making closer to communities and help support people to become more involved in decisions that affect them. This style of localism is a key priority in our Council Programme. It is a response to people, particularly the young, telling us they feel disengaged from decision-making in their own communities."

She continued, "I am delighted the panel members believe the Council meets or exceeds their general expectations, with a significant increasing thinking this compared to the previous year. The majority of respondents reported that the Council maintains local services, listens to local people and provides value for money."

The top three most important services for the public are; road and pothole repairs, winter road maintenance and refuse bin collections. Primary and secondary education was high on the list of important services with the 16 to 34-year age group.

Chairman of the Corporate Resources Committee, Councillor Alister Mackinnon, responding to the survey findings said, "All councillors recognise the challenge of reducing budgets. However, there has been excellent work which has been done to achieve the continued good performance across the Council and I wish to thank staff for the important part they play in delivering these services.

“In previous years we’ve responded to the panel feedback by making sure that repairing our roads and investing in our schools remain budget priorities. Unsurprisingly, reducing budgets and an increased pressure on services has seen a decline in satisfaction levels in some areas. It is clear that with further cuts projected for the next three years, current service provision is unaffordable. This means we need to place emphasis on redesign and involving the public in how we do things differently in the future."

The full 2017 survey report, provided by the UHI Centre for Remote and Rural Studies, can be accessed on our the performance web pages at:

https://www.highland.gov.uk/downloads/download/407/how_we_are_performingpublic_performance_reports

This provides further details on trends over time and graphics, including tables and pie charts. As this is a long report, running to 103 pages, a summary including highlights and areas for improvement is provided below. This year we also asked new questions on involving and developing communities and the full report also provides analysis of the short survey of those under 35 years of age using social media.

 

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