Key findings from the budget priorities survey 2014

Results show that 450 people expressed their views on budget priorities online or via paper copies; the survey was also available to print off and in Easy Read format. Respondents were approximately 53% male and 47% female, 90% over 35, and 14% with a disability or health problem.

Results from the survey suggest the following:

People were asked from the main services provided by Devon County Council what they thought were the priorities for their community.

The top three community priorities were –

  • Appropriate community support and care for the older people
    (82% selected as Essential or High Priority)
  • Support for vulnerable individuals and families to prevent neglect and harm
    (80% selected as Essential or High Priority)
  • Maintaining major road networks
    (75% selected as Essential or High Priority)

The lowest community priorities were –

  • Supporting home to school transport
    (29% selected as Essential or High Priority)
  • Supporting Devon’s cultural heritage
    (23% selected as Essential or High Priority)
  • Supporting healthy lifestyles
    (20% selected as Essential or High Priority)

People were asked from the main services provided by Devon County Council whether they thought spending should be protected, or reduced.

When asked which of the services listed they would like us to protect the most the top priorities were –

  • Community care services for older people and those with physical disabilities
    (78% Protect service as much as possible)
  • Safeguarding vulnerable children
    (78% Protect service as much as possible
  • Residential and nursing care for older people and those with physical disabilities
    (75% Protect service as much as possible)

When asked if any services listed should particularly have investment reduced those services that were lowest priority were –

  • Economic development
    (21% Protect service as much as possible)
  • Countryside, heritage, and arts
    (20% Protect service as much as possible)
  • Streetlights
    (13% Protect service as much as possible)

When asked about their community respondents indicated that they felt that they fairly strongly belonged to their local community, with 59% thinking communities could play a bigger role in the running of local services. Suggestions that Devon County Council could help communities with seed funding, training, and signposting were selected by around half of the respondents. 46% indicated they would like to get involved, or more involved, in their local community. 21% said no or don’t know when asked whether they would be prepared to be more involved in helping their local community. 86% said they currently or would consider helping family or neighbours who are ill or disabled, 76% to help improve safety and security in their neighbourhood, and 66% volunteer to help run local services.

When asked whether they would pay more council tax to protect services, 74% of respondents selected ‘yes’, whilst 52% said they were satisfied in the way Devon County Council has managed the tough choices faced.