Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) wished to review its Waste and Recycling Services to ensure they were making the most of their current resources and making savings wherever possible, and to confirm they were being as environmentally friendly as possible and were meeting government targets around waste and recycling. Enventure Research was therefore appointed to undertake a public engagement exercise to gather views and opinions from the community it serves.
The public engagement sought to gather the views of 3,000 residents in pre-defined areas across the Borough and representative of the Solihull community, about the waste and recycling services they receive.
A short questionnaire was designed in partnership between Enventure Research and Solihull MBC to ensure that residents were asked questions on a range of topics surrounding their waste and recycling services. Topics covered included rating the current service, frequency of use, other methods of waste disposal and recycling, opinions on a chargeable services, amounts of waste and recycling presented for collection, usage of a local HWRC, methods of receiving information about waste and recycling and suggested changes and improvements to the service.
Experienced interviewing staff with local knowledge were recruited to undertake the questionnaire with residents over a three-week period. The interviewing team attended a comprehensive training session during which they were fully briefed on the background of the public engagement and were provided with a training pack, which included health and safety guidelines and information to help deal with any general waste and recycling enquiries they might receive. The pack also provided details of the target areas in which to carry out the public engagement.
Interviews were conducted face-to-face with residents on the doorstep. Generally, the interaction on the doorstep was short and concise, lasting around six to seven minutes. Residents’ responses were recorded on handheld tablet computers and transferred to the Enventure Research office via Wi-Fi on a daily basis, allowing progress to be monitored and weekly reports to be provided to the Council.
Results and Benefits to the Client
A total of 3,031 questionnaires were completed with Solihull residents over the fieldwork period. Positively, the majority of residents were pleased with the service currently provided by the Council, with 90% rating it as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’. There was also a positive shift of opinions towards accepting food waste collections. The findings have, therefore, provided great insight into residents’ preferred options and will help shape the future of the waste and recycling services provided by the Council.
The findings from the research will help shape the future of the Council’s waste and recycling services.