Cherwell District Council
Cherwell District Council provides Planning, Environmental, Leisure and Housing services for a population of 130,000. It works in partnership, through the Cherwell Community Planning Partnership, to improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the District's people.
Resources to control and carry out research and consultation at Cherwell District Council are scarce. There is just one officer responsible for consultation at Cherwell District Council, and it forms only part of that person’s job. Consequently, many non-expert officers carry out research and consultation in respect of their various services, using the corporate resource for advice, training and guidance. This situation, where non-professionals need to produce professional-looking work to a corporate standard, makes KeyPoint an ideal tool.
KeyPoint survey software is easy to use and adopting it across the Council means that standards can be controlled through KeyPoint’s built-in styles. KeyPoint has enabled around 30 staff to produce consistent survey designs, giving them a professional appearance and making them much easier to complete, in turn increasing response rates. Non-research professionals find KeyPoint straightforward to pick up, as it provides an easy to follow pathway through the entire process of conducting a survey: from designing and creating the survey form to entering and processing the responses. A key benefit of this is that the Consultation Officer’s role is efficiently focused on quality and co-ordination, rather than design and production.
Survey hosting made easy.
In addition to KeyPoint, Cherwell District Council uses the Speedwell's survey-hosting service – SurveyServer. SurveyServer can handle everything automatically, allowing the Council to concentrate on designing the survey and analysing the results, rather than getting involved in the mechanics of how it is managed. For internal surveys, online forms are an ideal time and paper-saving means of consulting with staff.Flexible publishing options have allowed residents to reply to Council surveys in several ways; therefore reducing feedback restrictions. The adaptability of KeyPoint has meant it has helped the Council distribute the surveys via the internet and printed copy to precisely target the local community of Cherwell.
Since subscribing to SurveyServer the Council has been able to provide a Web Satisfaction Survey, allowing users to contact them if they did not find what they were looking for on the website. Users are requested to enter their email address so that the Council can respond to any feedback. This project has been successful in enabling Cherwell District to improve their internet service.
Internal Staff Research Register
An internal staff Research Register has recently been introduced in order to control the research and consultation work carried out by the various services of the Council. It needed to develop a central system in which staff could register their research proposals and that prompted them to consider all the ramifications of their proposal. Consequently a survey was designed and made available on the Council intranet. Staff are required to complete the form online before getting the go-ahead to carry out research work.
Sports Centre Survey
A Sports Centre Survey has also been conducted asking residents for feedback on proposed changes to their local leisure centres. It was issued to all the members via a paper-based survey and web survey, and made available on the website via SurveyServer. The feedback received provided the team with useful statistical information about how many people feel or think a certain way about the proposed changes to their leisure facilities.
Travel to Work Survey
A significant, internal online survey has been the Travel to Work Survey, which intended to understand how people travel to their jobs at Cherwell District Council. The survey included questions such as, Which means of travel do you regularly use? How far do you travel to work? Would you be willing to join the car share database? KeyPoint has therefore, helped the Council gain a better understanding of staff and residents’ views regarding local issues. Research and consultation via paper, web and email surveys has provided Cherwell District Council with a clearer picture of people’s preferences and wishes in certain areas.
The future.The chief role for KeyPoint in the coming year is the development of a Customer Satisfaction Index annual survey. This will be designed and analysed in-house using KeyPoint and administered externally using a bureau. Distributed by post, it will be sent each year to 3,000 residents. The survey will collect information about the importance residents attach to a range of aspects of Council services, their satisfaction with those service aspects, and produce both opportunities for improvement – where the gap between importance and satisfaction is large – and an overall satisfaction index for services and the Council as a whole.
In addition, the new requirements within Planning for significant, ongoing consultation (The Statement of Community Involvement) is leading to KeyPoint being used for a range of online consultation documents in the area of planning.