St Albans council poll costing more than £14k slammed by councillors

St Albans District Council.

St Albans District Council. - Credit: Archant

A satisfaction poll costing over £14,600 of taxpayers’ money has been slammed by opposition councillors.

St Albans District Council.

St Albans District Council. - Credit: Archant

The Community Survey, carried out by St Albans council every two to three years, aims to assess residents’ views on its services and the district in general.

Last year’s poll was carried out by an independent firm received 1,134 responses to surveys sent out to 4,000 randomly-selected homes.

But Colney Heath ward councillor Chris Brazier said the sum of money could have been used more beneficially, in light of recent cuts to the bus service in Colney Heath and surrounding areas.

He said: “The money could have been spent on providing rural areas with a bus service.

“We now have a limited service throughout the week and none at all on Sundays.”

He pointed out that a better picture came from councillors who knew what people in their wards were concerned about through holding surgeries.

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County and district councillor Roma Mills questioned the overall value of the survey.

She said: “I would query spending money on things that people who knock on doors can find out for nothing by straw poll.

“We went out into the town over a series of weekends in September, October and November and spoke to locals.

“I’d just like to question how useful this information actually is.”

The survey found that 71% of people who responded were satisfied with “the way the council runs things” - a figure up 1% from 2012 and up 29% on the same survey in 2008/09.

Council leader, Cllr Julian Daly, defended the survey saying: “The costs are spread over three years to get a good idea of what the residents are thinking, and has also been scaled back from the version we inherited from the previous office.

“A 30% response rate for something like this is also pretty good.

“Our officers find the results very useful as it does influence what we do and what we put our emphasis on.”