Brits happy to pitch in with council waste services

Nearly a third of Brits say they would be willing to step in and help run council services such as waste collection under the Government's Big Society agenda, according to a study released by May Gurney today.

The research found that 14.7 million people in Britain would consider joining a ‘volunteer army’ to safeguard vital frontline council services in the face of significant local authority budget cuts.

Of those surveyed, 31% said they would be willing to help run services either as part of a ‘people’s management team’ or as a volunteer, with 10% saying they would help raise funds to improve local services.

In addition, one in five (20%) British adults said they would be willing to participate in a committee to help improve the standard of council services in their area.

The news should come as a boost to councils, as the study also found that just 15% of people are unhappy with the services provided by their authority. Over half of British residents (54%) said they were very happy or happy with the services provided.

Refuse and recycling was cited as the most critical council service by 41% of respondents, followed by schools and adult education (17%), road maintenance and social services (both chosen by 8%).

Commenting on the findings, May Gurney CEO Philip Fellowes-Prynne said: “Finding new ways to safeguard and deliver frontline services will be critical and the Big Society policy paves the way for local communities to become more involved. Despite reports of cynicism it would appear that many residents are willing to do more to help deliver local services.

“Local authorities are also looking to work with third sector and private sector organisations to deliver traditional and enhanced services for less. We are witnessing a fundamental change in the way that public sector services are delivered in this country and our research suggests that local communities are more than keen to play their part.”

Maxine Perella

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