Published December 2000
Based on outcomes for residents and qualitative studies, it is widely thought that public services meet the needs of residents less well in deprived areas, and that this is due to both the demands placed on services being greater and the services themselves being of a lower quality. This paper looks at the use, importance and satisfaction ratings of a range of services by residents in deprived and other areas, using data from a large national survey, the People's Panel. Overall, there are relatively few services that deprived area residents are less satisfied with than are those elsewhere, and these differences are generally small, particularly when controlled for differences in the profile of residents between areas. Indeed, there are only six services (out of 40 considered) that are rated differently between areas, and for three of these satisfaction is higher in deprived areas. This finding may be at least partly due to the expectations of public services among those in deprived areas being lower than those elsewhere. The analysis attempts to account for this by comparing the ratings of similar 'high resource' groups between areas, as these people are likely to have similar expectations. In this comparison there are more services that perform less well in deprived areas, in particular GPs, the police, leisure centres, swimming pools, British Telecom, refuse collection, street cleaning, and road/pavement maintenance.