Financial performance information

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Purpose This research was commissioned to enable the Central Finance Team, within the Resources Directorate, to have a greater understanding of stakeholders views of the financial information that is published. The objectives were to understand the variety of needs for financial information, assess the market for the current publications and understand the key information drivers, and to investigate the potential to publish a summary statement of accounts and the information this product should contain.
Subject Budget and council priorities
Commissioned by Central Finance Team
Geographic area All of Lancashire
Method Focus group
Questionnaire - online
Consultation with Life in Lancashire panel
Date 01/07/2005 - 31/08/2005
Undertaken by Corporate Research and Intelligence Team, Policy Unit


Number in sample 432
Number of responses 78
Response rate 18%
Key findings Whilst the limited response to the online consultation and the use of a focus group have given only indicative evidence, there were clear views given on the publications produced. Participants saw the Council Tax leaflet as an effective vehicle to use, but the depth given in the joint county and district council leaflet was felt to be better. Points were raised about the lack of clarity provided by the fire service, and the need to give information in simple terms on the fire service and police provision. People also said they would like improved transparency on performance, balancing successes
against projects that had been less successful, for the County Council.

The Summary Statement of Accounts met with approval from most people involved in this research. Respondents noted that the information was clear and jargon-free, and provided a concise summary of county council finances. There were a small number of people who thought that more depth should be provided in the publication, but it was felt that signposting
to other sources of information would be effective in tackling this. There are other opportunities seen by respondents for the leaflet, including requests from participants for it to be published in Vision, the County Council's monthly newspaper.

There are some minor points raised throughout the report that the Central Finance Team should take action on.
Outcomes The comments coming from the research have helped us to produce our first ever Summary Statement of Accounts. We have tried to adopt a style that takes into account your suggestions. However, as different people have different opinions on what is good design and on the information they find useful, we had to strike a balance. This document, which summarises our accounts for 2004/05, can be found in the November edition of Vision and is also available on our website at:

When the budget has been agreed for 2006/07, we will be producing the budget publications - a leaflet and budget book. Your comments will help us with the design of these. They will also be shared with the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority and those district councils that are involved in producing joint budget leaflets, so that everyone can benefit from your suggestions.

Project document(s)


Contact information

For more information about this research contact:

Mike Walker
01772 533445

Mick Edwardson
01772 530290


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