The Department conducted a consultation exercise on the 2006-07 Best Value User Satisfaction surveys between 14 December 2005 and 6 February 2006. 199 responses from 241 organisations were received (some organisations chose to respond in consortia). A feedback document analysing responses to the consultation paper will be published shortly. In addition, we have subsequently received correspondence on this subject from three local authorities and two MPs.
The Department has commissioned three pieces of research concerning the methodology applied in the Best Value Performance Indicator (BVPI) user satisfaction surveys.
The first, published in 2002, was conducted by the Office for National Statistics and reviewed local authorities’ experience of the 2000-01 surveys, including the different methodologies applied.
The second, carried out by Ipsos MORI, which reported in March 2003, concerned the development of questions for the Best Value general and benefits surveys, piloting those surveys, and advising on guidance for the surveys.
The third was conducted by BMG and concerned the development of new sections of questions for the 2006-07 BVPI surveys (we anticipate the publication of this work in the autumn of 2006). The new questions formed part of the recent consultation of local authorities on the BVPI surveys.
In addition to this work, following the 2003-04 surveys, ‘in-house’ analysis concerning the impact of methodology on response rate, using data supplied by local authorities, has been conducted. These analyses also considered factors such as deprivation and ethnicity. This work found no evidence of a significant difference in response rate between postal and face-to-face methods even after allowing for context and respondent group.