Each year we invite 6,000 households in Thanet, selected at random, and ask for their views on the services we provide. As residents, using your voice in this way is important. We use the information we get from the responses to help us shape our priorities and the work we do in the district.
The residents’ survey for 2020 was carried out 6 months later than usual having been held back while the council focussed its efforts on supporting people through the pandemic. The survey for 2021 will revert back to being carried out in the autumn, to link in with the council’s budget setting process.
You can see the summary of the results from our 2020 survey here.
Based on the feedback from respondents the council continues to focus efforts on the aspects of Thanet that are seen as both important and most in need of improvement namely support for our towns, keeping the streets clean and feeling safe. We continue our work to try and address these matters.
In the past 12 months there has been a real push from the Government to help towns, particularly coastal towns, to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic. Margate has been selected as a recipient of support from the Town Deal Fund and bids have been submitted on behalf of Ramsgate and Margate to the Levelling Up Fund. These funds have set criteria for success with a focus on local infrastructure, as well as bringing new and higher value jobs to the district, with training opportunities and skills development.
This year, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, operational services continued throughout. Litter bins have been emptied and streets manually swept. In addition, the council has employed a further five full time environmental operatives who have been responsible for leading on deep cleans in known litter hotspots. The volume of litter increases exponentially with the number of people in the district. Over 80 additional, colourful 1100 litre bins were rolled out across the district from Easter, in anticipation of the seasonal increase in visitors. As well as making it as easy and obvious as possible for people to bin their litter, education is key. Our Education Officer has conducted a programme of visits to schools and litter education sessions, helping our younger residents understand the impact of rubbish on our environment.
The past 18 months have been an extremely uncertain time for many of us and our overall sense of safety and security has been shaken. In terms of work the council does and can do, a Community Hub was set up to support all residents, particularly those found to be clinically vulnerable. The Hub is led by our Multi-agency Task Force (MTF) which represents a partnership between the Community Team at Thanet District Council, Kent Police, the Department for Work and Pensions, Kent FIre and Rescue Service and a number of other supporting teams and organisations. By working together they are able to identify residents at risk and intervene with support. Our Neighborhood Engagement Meetings where residents can speak directly to the council and police about issues affecting their areas such as crime or antisocial behaviour, were put on hold while restrictions about gatherings were in place but have now been reinstated. Details of these meetings are on thanet.gov.uk or the Thanet Community Safety Partnership’s social media.
Following expressions of support for reducing the number of elected councillors, a request to do so has been submitted for consideration by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. However, it is likely that the earliest this would be reviewed is 2025/26 ahead of elections scheduled in 2027.
While the survey takes place annually, the council has a number of ways that residents can make their voices heard year round. Residents can directly ask a question to members of the Cabinet and receive a response at full Council meetings. We recently changed our petitions rules to make it much easier for community-led, online petitions to be submitted for debate. As well as our consultation processes, people can express views on planning applications via our portal. In April we hosted a live online Q&A session with the council leader which was open to all 3,500 subscribers of our newsletter, The Wave and intend to offer more of these throughout the year. We also meet and regularly engage with a host of volunteer groups who generously offer up their time and expertise in a range of areas.