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Satisfaction and Expectations: Attitudes to public services in deprived areas


  • Bobby Duffy


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bobby Duffy, 2000. "Satisfaction and Expectations: Attitudes to public services in deprived areas," CASE Papers case45, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:case45

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    Cited by:

    1. Carmen Tabernero & Esther Cuadrado & Bárbara Luque & Elisabetta Signoria & Roberto Prota, 2016. "The importance of achieving a high customer satisfaction with recycling services in communities," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 763-776, June.
    2. Dasgupta, Basab & Narayan, Ambar & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2009. "Measuring the quality of education and health services : the use of perception data from Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5033, The World Bank.
    3. Deichmann, Uwe & Lall, Somik V., 2007. "Citizen Feedback and Delivery of Urban Services," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 649-662, April.
    4. repec:hpe:journl:y:2017:v:220:i:1:p:57-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Deichmann, Uwe & Lall, Somik V., 2003. "Are you satisfied? citizen feedback and delivery of urban services," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3070, The World Bank.
    6. McMillan, Brian & Green, Josephine M. & Woolridge, Michael W. & Dyson, Lisa & Renfrew, Mary J. & Clarke, Graham P., 2009. "Studying the infant feeding intentions of pregnant women experiencing material deprivation: Methodology of the Looking at Infant Feeding Today (LIFT) study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 845-849, March.


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