Residents Survey 2016 results

Read the full report of the 2016 Residents Survey, including an overview of response rates, key findings and a message from Councillor Colin Noble.

In November 2015 BMG Research were commissioned to conduct a postal survey of 11,200 Suffolk residents.

The aim of the survey was to see which council services are most important to residents, therefore informing our decision making process when making savings.

We wanted to find out which services are the most used, and which services residents would be willing to see reduced.

Surveys were sent to residents in January 2016, to be completed by the end of February 2016.

Hear from the Leader of the Council

Watch the video below to hear what Councillor Colin Noble, Leader of Suffolk County Council, thinks of the results from this year's Residents Survey.

Find out more about the survey by reading the full report and information presented below. 

Read the full report

The full research report sets out all the results of the survey, and summarises the findings accordingly.

Read the full BMG Research Report for the Residents Survey 2016 (Word, 2.9 MB)

Response rates

The postal survey was sent to 11,200 residents, using a sample drawn from the Postal Address File.

All those surveyed were given the choice of completing the survey by post or online.

In total 2841 surveys were completed (including 54 online) - a response rate of 25.4%.

The survey responses were weighted by gender, age and ethnicity at a district/borough level. Therefore, the findings are broadly representative of each areas by the core demographics.

Key findings

Click the sections below to reveal key findings from the residents survey on each topic.

55% of residents are satisfied with the way we run things, with 20% dissatisfied.

These levels are significantly higher than the 2013 Budget Survey findings, and compared to local and national benchmarks.

Resident satisfaction (55%) was 7% higher than in 2013. 

Residents were also asked to state whether they agree or disagree with some statements about the council:

SCC treats people with respect SCC is making the area a better place to live Satisfied with the way SCC runs things

Regional satisfactionA majority of residents are satisfied with their local area as a place to live.

This is similar to the key findings of the 2013 Budget Survey and 2014 Essex Residents Survey; but is ahead of National and East of England benchmarking. 


On top of this, 28% of people agreed that they'd like to be more involved in decisions that affect their local area:

Involved in decisions affecting your local area

For most services, residents are more likely to state that service reductions are unacceptable, than acceptable.

The 5 services where there is overall support for service reduction are:

  • libraries
  • cultural/heritage services
  • Trading Standards and consumer advice
  • adult learning
  • countryside rights of way

 Residents were also asked to state which council services they believe to be the most important:


Generally important (%)

Personally important (%)

Condition of roads and pavements 64% 69%
Services to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour 46% 40%
Fire and rescue services 43% 43%
Local bus services 40% 35%
Education services and support for schools 39% 30%
Household waste disposal and recycling 36% 49%

Residents were asked to state their satisfaction with different services across the council:


Highest satisfied area

Level (%)

Lowest satisfied area

Level (%)

Highways and transport services Street lighting 51% Maintaining and repairing local pavements 43%
Services for children and families Safeguarding children from harm and abuse 42% Services to prevent youth and crime reoffending 29%
Social care services for adults Social care for older people 41% Social care for people with mental health problems 40%
Services for the local environment Waste disposal 78% Economic development to stimulate local businesses and the economy 23%
Education services Access to nursery schools and childcare 54% Adult learning and skills 17%

Areas of strength and for focus

Responses in this area of the survey have helped identify the following areas of strength, as well as where focus is needed:

Strengths and areas for focus

Website use

Around 75% of internet users would prefer to visit a council website for information, with the sole exception being in regard of complaints about services in the local area.

This is particularly encouraging given our Digital Transformation agenda.

Accessing information

Residents were asked to state which sources they use to access information:

  • 77% use newspapers
  • 28% use social media
  • 53% use the internet

Broadband speeds

60% of residents with internet access are satisfied with the speed of their connection, with 28% dissatisfied.

Alcohol consumption

12% of Suffolk residents have drunk over 14 units of alcohol in the past 7 days. The NHS recommends adults do not regularly exceed this level.


Only 9% of residents smoke nowadays, which is half the level recorded nationally.


On average residents have undertaken moderate exercise (30 minutes or more) on 4 of the last 7 days.

Online Residents Survey

In addition to the representative sample survey provided by BMG, an online version of the survey was undertaken by Suffolk County Council. This was made available to all Suffolk residents to give their views. 

Responses were collected between January and March 2016.

The survey was publicised in a number of ways, including events held at the time and various social media activity.

Read the Residents Survey 2016 online survey results (PDF, 148 KB)