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This report contains the results of the electronic services consultation administered and analysed by Newcastle Borough Council’s Policy Review and Communications Department between January and March 2002.
This research was carried out using a variety of methods including the Newcastle People’s Panel, a survey on the Borough Council web-site, a short survey in the Borough Council’s newspaper, The Reporter, and comments from a Newcastle youth group, the ‘Newcastle Young Peoples Association’. These methods are all documented in more detail in the methodology section of the report. A further section comparing and contrasting favoured methods of contact now and in the future between the Panel, the Internet, the Reporter and the Newcastle Young People’s Association is also included and these results are then compared to Staffordshire County Council results and national surveys on electronic communication.
This consultation was carried out in accordance with the Government’s national aim to ensure every local council provides services electronically by 2005 and also to find out local priorities for electronic service development. Some key results are summarised below.
Current contact with the Council
By far the most popular option for current contact with the Council was contact by telephone. 72% of panel members said they were most likely to contact the Council by this method. 46% of Internet respondents chose this option and 92% of Reporter readers preferred the telephone. The Newcastle Young People’s Association was also supportive of this option.
Future contact with the Council
Most respondents (71%) say they would still prefer to contact the Council by telephone in the future. Interestingly, 68% of Internet respondents would prefer to use the Internet in the future and 48% of Reporter readers would prefer to access services via the telephone. The Newcastle Young People’s Association would most prefer contact by letter.
In total, 255 panel members (53%) said they had access to the Internet. Of these, one third use the Internet every day, 29% use it several times a week and 14% use it once a week. The Newcastle Young Peoples Association also stated that they had access to the Internet on a daily basis.
43% of People’s Panel members said they would like to be able to vote on line and 40% of Reporter readers indicated their interest in on-line voting. The Young People’s Association also felt that voting on-line needed to be a high priority. Only seven respondents to the Internet survey said they would like to be able to vote on –line.
General priorities for on-line development
The highest priorities, among all respondents were being able to complain and report problems on line and having service information provided on-line.
Complaining about street refuse, litter and graffiti on-line
77% of the People’s Panel felt this was a high priority and 65% of respondents who filled in the Reporter survey also felt it was high priority. Only six Internet respondents felt that it was a priority and the Newcastle Young People’s Association did not identify it as a priority at all.
Reporting pavements that need repairing on-line
77% of the People’s Panel felt that being able to report damaged pavements that needed repairing was high priority, seven Internet respondents identified it as a high priority but the Young People’s Association did not rate it as a priority.
Reporting blocked drains on-line
75% of the People’s Panel felt it was high priority to be able to report blocked drains onlineand eight respondents from the Internet survey also felt this was a high priority. Once again, the Newcastle Young People’s Association did not rate blocked drains as a priority at all.
Providing information on-line…
71% of Panel members felt it was high priority for them to be able to receive information on recycling on-line. 6 Internet respondents also said they felt recycling information was a high priority and 41% of Reporter readers stressed the general importance of having service information provided on-line. Once again, the Young People’s Association did not rate this as a priority.