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New research: citizen expectations for local authority reporting services

Our new report Citizen reporting in the UK 2022, which explores whether and how citizens make reports about problems in their local area, has been published. 

Based on a nationwide YouGov survey commissioned by SocietyWorks, the report aims to help councils and other public sector organisations that need to take reports from citizens about a variety of issues to stay informed of ever-changing expectations. 

Among some of our key findings, we discovered that the majority of citizens surveyed said they haven’t reported a problem in the last few years due to experiencing previous disappointment caused by unresolved reports. 

We also learned that only 22% of respondents wanted a dedicated mobile app for making reports, while 43% would prefer a website that works well on mobile devices.

Alex Parsons, senior researcher at our parent charity mySociety, with whom we collaborated on this research, said: ‘Citizen reports of problems both help citizens feel guardianship over their area, and alert authorities to problems. Managing the feedback loop and the expectations of citizens is important because problems being reported and not fixed makes citizens less likely to report again. 

‘The philosophy of our services is that citizens should not need to understand how overlapping systems of government work to report problems, and this is validated by strong support for a tool that can route the request to the right place. 

‘Making it easy to report problems and keep citizens informed about progress improves the relationship between local councils and citizens and means citizens don’t need to follow-up through other methods.’ 

Councils that are keen to transform their service delivery for citizens can carry some key priorities forward from this research to help them harness the full potential of proactive citizen-made reports, without increasing the burden on customer services teams.

Read the full report, Citizen reporting in the UK 2022, here.

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