We came to the conclusion early on in project that some expertise was required to facilitate planning, designing and deploying a survey in order to avoid some common problems we had seen with similar projects elsewhere.  With Colin being local and enthusiastic from the outset he was the obvious choice and proved his worth throughout.  We have come away from the survey part of the project with minimal fuss and some very valuable insights to carry us forward into next stage.  Not a project we would carry out regularly but would have no hesitation getting Colin involved again if/when we do.

James Farley

Community Councillor, Higher Kinnerton Community Council

Background

In response to Flintshire’s proposed Local Development Plan, Higher Kinnerton Community Council appointed a steering group to set out a plan for the village covering the years 2018 to 2030 and part of the process was to conduct a village wide survey. The group had conducted a number of meetings to set out a process and agree what areas the plan should consider. The survey questionnaire formed a critical part in gathering the views of residents.  Local resident views would provide the basis on which the steering group and the Community Council can help shape the overall development plan for their community.

Goals

The aim of the questionnaire was to gather and evaluate local residents’ views on the four main topics of the plan and also help the understanding of what residents currently like and don’t like about their village.  Responses to the questions would allow the Steering Group and the Community Council to produce a local Village Plan which genuinely represented the views and aspirations of residents as they look for Flintshire County Council to adopt the plan as a document of significant importance..  Other goals included:

  • No recent surveys had been undertaken in Higher Kinnerton, so this survey would form a baseline for comparing local opinions over time.
  • A good response rate from the survey was important so that the group can make informed decisions in the Village Plan.
  • To engage with the widest possible audience in order to inform them of the importance of the Village Plan.

Requirements

The Steering Group required a consultation professional to help with the survey design and then the visualisation of results afterwards.  They were conscious that good quality survey design is important and were keen for the questions not to be leading in any manner.  However, they had a tight timescale and limited budget for market research.

Solution

I was able to help the Community Council in the following ways:

  • Converting a set of draft questions into a working questionnaire, using best practice questionnaire design to maximise ease of response. Testing and iteration of questions through a pilot survey was undertaken to improve design.
  • Development of an effective online survey, which could be promoted via social media. This was converted into a print friendly version so that hard copies could be distributed at community events for those who preferred to respond offline.
  • Daily monitoring of response rates to ensure high levels of engagement were achieved.
  • Summary results were reported through the provision of a suite of basic data visualisations.  Cross tabulations of questions were created for a deeper understanding of views by sub groups.  Raw data was also provided for text based analysis.
  • Advise and guidance was given throughout on interpretation of results leading to valuable insights.  I also advised on requirements to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Results

The surveys results were delivered on time and in budget.  A high response rate of 21% (291 respondents) of the target population aged 13 years and over was achieved.  Summary results were converted into a presentation by the steering group, which were shared with members of the local community at an open meeting event.  The results were cross tabulated for a better understanding of how opinions differ across various demographic groups.

Outcomes

The survey captured concerns about local issues which would have a direct effect upon local people and the village.  This provided a deeper understanding of issues, which the steering group had identified previously themselves.  The results form a baseline, going forward, for comparing local opinions over time and the group can now make informed decisions in developing the Village Plan.