A Place survey is a key area of consultation used by local authorities. They provide insight into the attitudes and perceptions of residents which help Council’s develop their policies and priorities for the next few years. Place Surveys are therefore an important tool

We recently carried out a Place survey for a large local authority. In discussion with the Council we developed a sampling scheme. The target was to achieve a robust data set for each Ward in the District. This was agreed as a Confidence Interval of ± 10% at Ward level which delivered an extremely robust Confidence Interval of ± 2.5% for the District as a whole.

We agreed that the best method of carrying out the survey was face to face interviews. We interviewed initially in the main retail areas in the District. We are able to monitor the quota achieved in real time and were then able to direct interviewers to ‘door knock’ in specific Wards.

The original specification for the project was a phone survey. However, we explained that the changing nature of phone ownership, with fewer landlines and many more mobiles, made achieving quota very challenging. It also made it much more expensive. Mobile phone numbers cannot be directly linked to a geographic area. Landlines, with their area codes, do provide that certainty.

Face to face interviewing proved to be an efficient way of meeting the sometimes exacting quota on a Ward by Ward basis. It guaranteed a representative and robust set of data for the Council to analyse. The quality needed was delivered.

One piece of demographic data we collected was participants postcode. This allowed much greater analysis of the data using Acorn classification. It has added a further layer of insight to the survey results.