It’s emerged that the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s so-called Corporate Plan 2016-20 and Budget 2016/17 have been based on an internet survey which received a total of only 209 responses from the public.
The Vale Council has just placed the current Corporate Plan – in sections – on its website for public perusal – but what’s less obvious is the evidential basis on which the council formulated its plans for the next four years.
…This turns out to be a tiny on-line survey – which drew responses from only 209 people – plus “consultations“ with town councils and a few selected local bodies.
The Vale of Glamorgan has a total population of 124,600 but a PDN source says the size of the self-selected sample of 209 on which the “Improvement Plan” is based is too small to be statistically significant and is not sufficiently random in composition.
Nevertheless it appears to be on the basis of this sample that the Vale Council seems to have based major assertions – such as that most people in the Vale of Glamorgan would be “happy” to pay more for non-statutory council services.
The Vale Council says “There were 209 responses to the online survey. This is a lower response rate than in previous year” .
Rather than ask about their experiences of rubbish collection, rates and road-mending, the Vale Council survey asked local residents about their race, their sex, their sexuality and their religion.
SEX AND SEXUALITY IN THE VALE :
The Vale Council asked all the people who answered its questions , what their gender – and what their sexuality – is . The results were:-
- 41% of respondents “were described as female at birth”,
- 56% “described themselves as male”,
- 1 respondent “was described as intersex”
- 3% “preferred not to say”.
- 87% of respondents described their sexuality as “heterosexual/straight”
- 3% “are gay/lesbian”,
- 1% chose “other”
- 9% “preferred not to say”
LESBIAN GAY BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER AND YOUTH ISSUES
Very few young people participated in the on-line survey (see figures below) , but the Vale’s Council’s Consultation Report says “proposed wellbeing outcomes and objectives” were discussed with the Vale of Glamorgan Council Youth ‘Cabinet’ [supposedly, a body which represents local youth organisations across the Vale].
A local LGBT [Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender] “support group” was also part of what the Vale Council calls “the engagement process”. Both it and the Youth ‘Cabinet’ are said to have ” sought further information on how the needs of young people and the LGBT community would be addressed”.
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Group also reported there was a “Lack of awareness about gender identity” and pressed for the council to initiate “Transgender awareness training for frontline council staff ” .
AGE : Of the 209 respondents who took the survey , only 98 were prepared to reveal their date of birth to the Vale Council. The results from those who did answer showed that:-
- 1% were aged 19-24,
- 8% were aged 25-34,
- 33% were aged between 35-54
- 53% are 55-74
- 5% were 75 or over.
Most respondents described themselves as “white”
- 43% said they were “Welsh”,
- 40% said they were “British”
- 11% said they were “English”
- 3% ticked the “other” box and stated that they were Irish, Italian, Australian or American.
PAYMENT FOR NON-STATUTORY SERVICES
The 209 respondents was also asked in the survey whether they would be “happy to pay” in order to continue to receive “non-statutory services” (like public libraries)
- 57% of respondents said that they would be “happy” to pay
- 43% of respondents said they would “not be willing” to pay
The Vale Council claims “The response to this question shows a slight majority in favour of the introduction of charges for non-statutory services.” However the council also admits that “There is very little public awareness of which council services are statutory – and which are non-statutory”
When town councils in the Vale were consulted about the Vale Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan, Penarth Town Council’s members evidently had some difficulty in drilling through the jargon and making any sense of the document.
The Vale Council admits in its consultation report that “Penarth Town Council highlighted that the Medium Term Financial plan was not an easily accessible document for either members – or the general public.”
Penarth Council also complained that the Vale Council is not planning to improve links between the Esplanade and the Town Centre until 2019/20.
The full Consultation Report – which details the Vale Council’s consultation process – is on http://tinyurl.com/h3elcj5