By Daniel Hunter

Councils are being consulted on what questions they would want to include in surveys of local people.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, and London Councils, the umbrella group for the capital's 33 local authorities, have just launched a joint consultation on a proposed set of questions and guidance, called ‘Are you being served?'

Local authorities deciding to use standardised questions and guidance would be able to compare with other authorities their success on issues including resident satisfaction and perceptions of crime and community cohesion.

Suggested questions include:

- Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your local area as a place to live?

- To what extent do you agree or disagree that your local council provides value for money?

- Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the way your local council runs things?

"This consultation has a key role in ensuring that councils can be held to account for the work they are doing to boost their local communities," Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA's Improvement Board, said.

"Local government is committed to managing its own performance in a clear and transparent way and I look forward to hearing any feedback on the proposals."

Chair of the Self Improvement Board at London Councils, Gillian Norton said:

"It is important to choose questions which prompt as much feedback as possible from residents about what life is like in their area. We want to hear what people who live and work in our communities think about their council services and be able to compare results between local authorities."

The joint consultation is being taken forward as a result of the cancellation of the Place Survey, which previously compared data across local authorities. The questions are intended to be used by councils on a voluntary basis within their own local surveys, but this will still allow national comparisons to be made if the guidance is followed.

The information will be used within Local Government Inform (LG Inform), a new data service the LGA is running that gives councillors and council officers easy access to key data. LG Inform represents a key part of local government's approach to monitoring and managing its own performance. The data will eventually be open to the general public.

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