Eight in ten Edinburgh residents satisfied with council services

Eighty per cent of residents are satisfied with services delivered by the City of Edinburgh Council since lockdown began in March 2020, according to a large-scale city survey.

Eight in ten Edinburgh residents satisfied with council services

More than 1,000 people were interviewed by telephone between October and December for the Capital Residents Survey. The research aims to help the local authority understand how the public have been affected by changes to service provision as a result of the COVID pandemic, and to guide our prioritisation of resources as the city recovers.

As well as reporting high satisfaction with council services, of participants who had contacted the council over the last year, 67% said they were satisfied with the service they received. Two thirds of the people who took part also said they felt generally satisfied with their lives.

Despite the challenges of the last year, results demonstrated the positive impacts of lockdown, with over half of the participants (53%) walking for leisure more than before, 45% increasing the time spent talking to friends and family and a third (33%) upping their general exercise. However, out of survey respondents, people in lower socio-economic groups, those living with a health condition or living alone were more likely to have experienced a negative impact on their wellbeing.

Feedback shed light on people’s changing working habits, with 58% of respondents working from home during the pandemic – 85% of these all or most of the time. Of those who took part in the survey, 55% said they would like to continue working from home all or most of the time after the pandemic, while 41% would prefer to always or mostly work away from home.

Councillor Adam McVey, council leader, said: “I am delighted that the people of Edinburgh have recognised the hard work council staff have put in to maintaining and delivering services during the pandemic.

“It’s been a hugely challenging year for everyone, and we’ve been working extremely hard to make sure council services are delivered with as little disruption as possible. I know that colleagues across the council will be really pleased that these efforts have benefited the people of Edinburgh.

“Research like the Capital Residents Survey is incredibly insightful for our own future planning. Not only does the feedback help us to identify areas for improvement, like street cleansing or road conditions, but information will help us plan for the end of lockdown and a full resumption of services.”

Councillor Cammy Day, depute leader, said: “Work, travel, social interaction and a whole range of aspects of our lives have changed immeasurably since the pandemic began. This data demonstrates exactly how it has affected the way people have accessed and experienced council services during this time.

“It’s clear that, while there is light at the end of the tunnel, we’re going to have to adapt our ways of living and working for some time to come. The feedback received will help us to respond to this, and to keep improving the way we communicate with and serve the city’s residents.”

When asked about future provision of services, three quarters of respondents told us it would be more convenient if libraries, community centres and advice services were all available in the same place. The majority of people who took part (58%) said it would make sense to have all public services delivered from one location, but there were some concerns this wouldn’t work practically.

Fourteen per cent said they were dissatisfied with council services in general, with roads, communications problems and street cleansing or refuse collection concerns being the main reasons.

Capital Residents Survey – key statistics

Council services

  • 80% of respondents satisfied or very satisfied with council services; 14% dissatisfied
  • One in ten respondents had visited council offices in the past year and one in five had visited their local library
  • 33% said they’d contacted the council since March 2020; out of these, 48% had done this via the website while 36% had telephoned

Future development of services

  • Three quarters of respondents agreed that it would be more convenient if libraries, community centres and advice services were all available in the same place. One in five disagreed
  • 76% said they would be comfortable using sports and leisure facilities at a local school

Impact of the pandemic on work, leisure and wellbeing

  • 58% of participants have been working from home – 85% all or most of the time
  • 55% of people said they would like to continue working from home all or most of the time after the pandemic ends
  • Two thirds of respondents (67%) reported being generally satisfied with their life nowadays
  • Seven in ten gave a high or very high score in relation to how happy they felt, though one in ten provided a low happiness score of less than five (out of ten)

The results of the survey, which was jointly funded by NHS Lothian, will now be reported to the council’s Adaptation and Renewal Programme working groups to help prioritise future resource and to provide a better understanding of residents’ experiences of the pandemic.

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