A large proportion of Opinion Research Services (ORS) research is for Local Government. As well as working with Local Authorities in a range of specialist areas such as Housing and Health, ORS also undertakes a full range of consultation and research that covers the whole local policy agenda and local service delivery.
ORS' work with local authorities includes Residents' Surveys, including statutory consultations such as the PLACE survey and the STATUS tenant survey; recruiting, managing and consulting with Citizens' Panels; conducting Visitor Surveys; engaging with Stakeholders; undertaking deliberative consultations, for example to inform budget planning or local planning decisions; working with Hard-to-Reach groups; and analytical research projects such as profiling inequality and modelling population trends.
We are also an approved provider for delivering a range of research services to local authorities through a number of framework agreements and partnerships. These frameworks aim to simplify the procurement process for local authorities seeking to commission individual pieces of work, given the rigourous processes already employed for selecting the approved providers.
ORS is currently approved by the following contracts that cover projects commissioned by local authorities:
- IDeA for Local Government
Consultancy Framework covering Generic Skills and Panel Member for Sustainable Communities and Policy Work and Research and Consultancy for Public Health and Well-being
- East Midlands Regional Framework
Panel member for social and market research services for local authorities
- Eastern Shires Market Research Framework
Panel member for market research, public opinion polling and public consultation
- Hertfordshire Public Engagement Partnership
Sole supplier social and market research services to a partnership of County Council, District Councils, Police Authority and NHS Primary Care Trusts
- Birmingham City Council
Approved supplier to Birmingham City Council and sole supplier for the Peoples' Panel
- Central Bedfordshire Council
Full Service Research Agency Frameworks
- Leeds City Council
Leeds Community Engagement Supplier Framework
- Leicester County Council Regional Framework
Panel member for market research services for local authorities
Hertfordshire County Residents Tracker Survey
As part of the Hertfordshire Public Engagement Partnership framework, ORS undertakes an annual face-to-face tracker survey of 1,000 residents across Hertfordshire county. The survey includes a number of standardised questions that allow perceptions to be monitored effectively year-on-year as well as asking about the County Council's current priorities.
Suffolk County Council
ORS undertook 1,500 in home face to face interviews, using CAPI technology, to boost the results from the British Crime survey on selected key questions for Suffolk County. We had to undertake the strict Home Office methodology, with the fieldwork being undertaken in a 4 week window, followed by analysis and reporting in a further 4 weeks.
Leeds City Council
Leeds City Council commissioned ORS to undertake a public consultation about the form of leadership for the Council. A questionnaire was distributed to a representative cross-section of Leeds residents in order to understand their preferences for the council’s future executive form.
Birmingham Peoples' Panel
After an extensive competitive tendering process, ORS was appointed to manage, maintain and consult Birmingham City Council’s Citizen’s Panel. Following an initial panel review, ORS has provided recommendations for ensuring that the Panel is representative and will undertake a suite of consultation work including postal, telephone, on-line and qualitative research with panellists.
Rochford District Council
ORS established a brand new panel of 1000 residents for Rochford DC and have since delivered a range of qualitative consultation about budget increases, web-site design and equality issues with Panel members. This fits well with the Council's priorities for consultation who have focussed on depth research rather than administering surveys with the full Panel.
Wrexham County Borough Council
ORS was appointed to take over an existing Panel for the Council working in partnership with the Local Health Board. As part of the handover, ORS recruited over 500 new panel members and undertook a full review of existing panellists to ensure the final panel was representative of the general population. The current panel of 1000 residents has been regularly surveyed with ORS delivering 3 surveys each year.
Waverley Borough Council
ORS was appointed by Waverley Borough Council to set up and refresh a Citizens' Panel. The requirement was for a relatively complex postal recruitment including current panellists and a database of “interested” individuals as well as random sampling; as well as targeted on-street face-to-face recruitment.
Powys County Council
ORS took responsibility for an “out of date” Citizens' Panel run by Powys County Council. Following a comprehensive review, a targetted recruitment exercise was undertaken to ensure that the panel was fully representative of the county's population and suitable for undertaking consultations.
Swansea City Centre Visitor Survey Monthly Tracker
ORS conducts a regular monthly face-to-face survey with visitors to Swansea city centre. The surveys asks a consistent set of core questions about the factors which influence visitors to the city alongside a omnibus style section asking about new initiatives, possible policy changes and seasonal events. The survey findings provide a valuable information base for decision-making, monitoring of performance indicators, and the formulation and evaluation of City Centre policy initiatives.
Afan Forest Visitor Survey
For a number of years, ORS conducted the Afan Forest Park Visitor Survey on behalf of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, the Forestry Commission, the Wales Tourist Board and the Welsh Development Agency. The aim of the survey was to enable the Council to provide services within the park that meet the needs of its diverse range of visitors.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Recreation and Sports Division commissioned ORS to conduct a detailed questionnaire survey of Carmarthenshire residents on their views of the services provided. The Council also conducted a survey of its members on their views of the services provided at local parks and playgrounds.
Birmingham City Council Partner Survey
The main objective of this project was to provide valuable insights into the views Birmingham CC partners have of the Council’s partnership working and allow them to report perceptions of performance improvements. The online survey also aimed to identify consistent themes emerging when analysing perceptions of the Council across different types of partner organisation.
Dover District Council: Local Development Framework (LDF) Public Consultation
This multi-staged project employed a range of methodologies to support the development of Dover DC’s 20 year vision and spatial strategy for the District, as formulated in their LDF and Local Plan documents. Following an initial scoping exercise including a postal survey and eight focus groups, 600 face to face interviews and six further focus groups exploring specific proposals were conducted.
Review of Research and Intelligence Functions of Local Government in Cheshire
ORS undertook this review on behalf of the former Cheshire County Council and all of the district councils in the context of the creation of two Unitary Authorities for the county. The study involved an audit of research and intelligence capacities and resources in order to advise on the most appropriate structure for the delivery of effective and accountable research and intelligence services to the new Unitary Authorities.
Promoting Equalities and Tackling Inequalities in Suffolk
A series of focus groups were undertaken across Suffolk looking at the promotion of equalities and also the development of policies to tackle inequalities and exclusion on the grounds of race, gender, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation and age. The groups focused in particular on gender inequality and the legal duty on public bodies to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment, and promote equality of opportunity between men and women.
Chester City Council: Research for the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government
ORS was commissioned by Chester City Council to undertake a progreamme of qualitative research about the strategic role of local government. The proejct was undertaken to inform the Lyons Inquiry into Local Government, and topics discussed included the implications of devolution and local authority funding issues.
Engaging with Hard-to-Reach Groups
Suffolk County Council
ORS was commissioned by Suffolk County Council to undertake an extensive qualitative programme looking at social cohesion and the impact of migration into the County. The work included forums with a number of minority groups including young people, Polish and other migrant workers, young adults, those who are economically disadvantaged, single parents and people with disabilities.
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council: Working with young people
A study designed to evaluate Youth Services for Neath Port Talbot CBC involving a number of focus groups with 11-25 year olds, examining their requirements for provision of youth services in the county. The work covered young people’s aspirations, expectations, lifestyle and necessary improvements to existing services. The research consulted a range of organisations including schools, youth clubs and church groups.
Analytical Research Projects
Profiling Inequalities in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire County Council commissioned ORS to identify and profile the most disadvantaged communities across the county. The analysis employed drew on an extensive range of published and administrative data sources alongside existing primary survey data in order to effectively understand the differences that exist across the entire policy agenda.
Watford Minority Ethnic Residents’ Community Mapping and Engagement Review
This project sought to better understand the Black and Minority Ethnic Community in Watford, with a particular focus on the Muslim community. Innovative regression analysis was used to link disparate secondary data sources and build a detailed profile of the population and how it seems to be changing over time. This was combined with community engagement aimed at better understanding some of the emerging issues.
Bridgend County Borough Council Taxi Strategy Research
ORS was commissioned to undertake a study to inform Bridgend's future integrated transport policy and shape the locations and form of private hire transport in the county. This included a range of quantitative and qualitative methods, including on-street counts that informed a modelling exercise to establish existing and projected demand for taxis across the county.
Assessment of Demand for Welsh Medium Education in the Vale of Glamorgan
Vale of Glamorgan Council commissioned ORS to determine the likely future demand for Welsh language primary education in the county. The analysis was based on a unique model developed by ORS to understand patterns of current and future demand and establish the assocaited spatial distribution. The study provided the evidence required for the authortiy to increase the number of Welsh medium school places.