Local authorities are unique public service agencies in having a democratic mandate. Despite unprecedented budget pressures, and a complete change in base funding, away from the central government revenue support and towards business rates and local charges, the sector remains undiminished in the public eye.
But the new landscape is shifting the nature of the requirements for research services. The days of large-scale citizens’ panels and annual best value surveys are gone for good, and M·E·L Research has rapidly adapted to the new requirements. Insightful public engagement and involvement in local service redesign, qualitative research, and intelligent use of online and social media channels, provide incisive and informative research evidence to democratise local decisionmaking. Effective decentralisation and devolution to neighbourhoods is another emerging priority, with citizens playing an ever more active part.
Business growth is becoming a major element of local authority policy, especially in the context of the new combined authorities. Top quality business survey techniques will be essential to the game, especially oriented towards the SME and creative industries sector. M·E·L Research is at the forefront of the social research industry in developing the best techniques uniquely suited to meeting this niche need.