Concerns over £22k questions

CONCERNS have been raised about the £22,000 cost of a survey that will go to households across Hartlepool.

The Household Survey has taken place every two years since 2004 and the results are used to improve council and health services, identify priority areas, help develop key strategies and also as a way for people to have their say.

The council-led survey asks a range of questions about local facilities, crime and safety, community services, housing, education and roads.

But independent councillor Cath Hill, speaking at a cabinet meeting, hit out at the cost, £8,000 of which is being funded by Hartlepool Borough Council.

The rest will be met by partner organisations.

The last survey cost £78,000 and took place in 2010 but the latest one is due to cost £22,000.

Coun Hill said: “I think this is one of those things that the public have very little time for and we get criticised for.

“People expect us to know what is going on in town without having to spend £22,000.

“I can see both sides but people are always critical of this kind of expenditure.”

Independent councillor Paul Thompson denied it was a “frivolous waste of money” and said it was an opportunity for people to have a say.

Senior officers said the council’s contribution was from an underspend last year and that it is also likely to be the last one carried out.

In May and June the survey will be posted out to a random sample of households across Hartlepool. People will be able to return the completed survey in a pre-paid envelope or respond online.

The survey will be analysed and results shared with councillors, officers and partners organisations to provide a detailed analysis by ward, gender, age group and ethnicity.