Cultural shift

March 25, 2010

In this blog I haven’t tended to agree with Ben Page, the Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI. I am now going to make an exception!

In the Municipal Journal of 18 March 2010* he contributes to the Soapbox column, as he has in the past, with a piece largely on council communications and the financial cuts.  In response to politicians sating that they are going to get more online to save costs, he picks up some key points including:

  • the fact that citizens are more interested in service information than performance information
  • that a number will continue to rely on printed material for sometime
  • information is unlikely to empower anyone apart from the small minority already engaged

He concludes by stating that “A cultural shift in the relationship between service users and public services is required. Don’t expect dramatic changes in awareness and attitudes in the next five years.”

My own academic research supports that and indicates that one way forward is implementing the “Citizen Engagement System” and actively employing the feedback at a service and political level to regain trust from the public. Even using such a mechanism, it will take time, since recommendations will have to be seen to be being carried out.

This is also reflected on page 45 of the new (launched 25th March 2010) Total Place report where it considers what a successful procurement system would look like:

“Local services geared towards meeting the needs and demands of service users and citizens – structuring services to meet those needs through engaging them in service design and monitoring of performance and working across service silos to focus on the outcomes for the person rather than the individual services they receive.”

So I may not be far from the truth, after all!

* To those without a paper copy I apologise – the content of MJ is frequently reproduced on http://www.localgov.co.uk but at a later date!

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Digital self-exclusion

June 11, 2009

A new (10 June 2009) report is hot off the Ofcom press. Research by Ipsos Mori on behalf of Ofcom has looked at: Accessing the internet at home A quantitative and qualitative study among people without the internet at home

The 184 page document examines in great detail a statistically significant population, whilst proposing different options  that might encourage people to take up computer usage and broadband. Of the estimated 30% without access it appears that in 42% of cases there is no interest and of the adults who do not have access to the Internet, 43% would remain unconnected even if they were given PC and connection for free.

Whilst nothing to celebrate, these figures do confirm the need to maintain other channels or mediated services through e-channels for the foreseeable future.


No place to be

May 10, 2009

The website localgov.co.uk, the online version of the Municipal Journal, had the headline on 7 May 2009 that ‘Less than half happy with council services’, which was a report about figures compiled by Ipsos MORI from the Place survey data required to be collected by local authorities.

Ben Page of Ipsos MORI blames this drop in public satisfaction on poor communication and increases in Council Tax. I think the Place survey is a waste of money and meaningless. If a local authority employs the strategy proposed by Ben Page and communicates good messages before its survey, it’ll get improved results!

Lets better employ the money by continually measuring satisfaction with services and channels and using it to improve the delivery of services!

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