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We are a cross-party, member-led network, providing a single voice for our member councils

Districts Deliver: How local people view their councils

Category: DCN Updates | Reports
Published: 23 February 2023

Districts Deliver: How local people view their councils

Exclusive research has revealed unprecedented insight into the value people place on universal local public services and their trust in the councils providing them.

The District Councils’ Network commissioned the independent analysts BritainThinks to survey people living in the English shires about their attitudes to the local public services in their area.

BritainThinks’ polling makes clear the significant perceived value of services such as waste collection, street cleaning and leisure services which are open to all residents but have sometimes been neglected in the national debate about local government.

You can read the full report here.

BritainThinks’ full data can be read here.

And you can read DCN’s press release on the findings here.

Waste collection was the single most valued service, with 92% of people considering it essential.

% of respondents who consider service area essential or very important
Waste collection 92%
Street cleaning 85%
Housing 79%
Economic development 74%
Planning 69%
Leisure and recreation 67%


The survey of 1,000 people living in English shire areas with both district and county councils also revealed a significant level of public backing and trust in district councils.

The survey revealed greater name-recognition for district councils – the most localised principal authorities – than for the far larger county councils, with 59% of residents being able to identify their district, compared to 32% their county council.

Fifty-four percent of people expressed satisfaction with their district council, compared to 46% for county councils. Meanwhile, 63% of people described their district council as high-quality.

Districts were more trusted to boost local pride, bring local people’s views into decision making, tackle social issues and respond to local emergencies than county councils or national government.

District council County council National Govt
Helping people to feel proud of their local area 66% 28% 6%
Bringing the views of local people into decision making about my local area 62% 32% 6%
Tackling social issues in our


62% 31% 8%
Responding and dealing with emergencies in the community 51% 39% 10%


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