Almost three in four residents want South Cambridgeshire District Council (SCDC) to end their four day week trial ‘as soon as possible’, according to a survey over 1,700 conducted by Anthony Browne, MP for South Cambridgeshire.
Of the 1,733 residents who took part in the online survey on Mr Browne’s website, over three quarters (76%) did not support the District Council’s policy of paying staff five days’ wages for four days of work. Over 70% of respondents agreed with the statement ‘the trial should be stopped as soon as possible’ with 60% stating that they strongly agreed. Full results can be viewed in the link at the bottom of the page
Residents also indicated they don’t believe they will get better service because of the four day working week policy (69%), that the policy is an irresponsible use of public funds (also 69%), and that the Council is prioritising the needs of Council staff over the needs of residents (72%). In a damning condemnation of the lack of consultation on the policy, 74% of respondents felt that they should have been better consulted, while 69% did not feel they had even been communicated with about the trial or its outcomes.
Results also suggest that residents are generally unsatisfied with the work of the Council. In total, 33% described the quality of service provided by SCDC as poor or very poor, with 39% describing it as ‘average’. Of those who had contacted the Council during the trial period, 56% said they were unsatisfied with their experience, while 42% said it was worse than their previous experiences.
In response to the survey results, Mr Browne said: “The four-day week trial is simply not supported by local residents. It's viewed as irresponsible and the lack of consultation and communication surrounding its introduction is unacceptable. The people have spoken, and the Government has spoken. SCDC must heed the call of our community and end this trial immediately”.
The Council is now under additional scrutiny on the policy from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. Ministers are requesting additional detail weekly on the trial's impact including on individual employee productivity and service provision. SCDC is expected to demonstrate how it is delivering its Best Value Duty by providing evidence of trial impacts and evaluating Best Value for residents.