View from Primrose Hill

Members' Survey 2012

The survey conducted in May 2012 by the London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies asked a number of questions designed to get a picture of the Forum's membership. You may view a copy of the questionnaire here (PDF format)

Most of the questions were answered by almost all the 51 respondents, but up to three skipped some questions, and eight did not answer Question 32, about knowledgeable members.

The note which follows looks at the results of questions in the survey related to the ‘health’ and resources of those members who responded.

A fuller report which covers those questions in the survey related to members’ issues, achievements, etc can be found here (PDF format) .

• 66% are registered charities, 34% are not.

• 10 (22%) are members of Civic Voice; the reason all gave was that it was important to support a national voice for the civic movement; one added that they had received help from Civic Voice since joining. 26 (78%) are not members, though one had sent a donation: five had not even considered joining; 18 had decided membership was too expensive and two that the benefits were not clear.

• 86% (84% in 2008) say their income covers their costs.

• 18% say shortage of income is limiting their activities (it is logical to say that income covers present costs, but there are things that cannot be afforded.)

• 29% have rising, 56% static, and 15% falling levels of income (26%, 67% and 3% in 2008); 31% have rising membership levels, 48% static and 21% falling (25%, 59% and 10% in 2008. These percentages do not indicate a severely declining sector, though they do suggest things are a little worse than four years ago.

• On the other hand, some 39% have not filled all their committee places, nearly a quarter have at least one officer vacancy, and 45% said their activities were limited by shortages of skills/people.  This suggests that there are real problems. The figures from 2008 were slightly worse (44% had not filled all their Committee places, and just over a quarter had at least one officer vacancy) though it is hard to believe the difference is statistically significant.

• Just over one third increased their fees at some time in the past two years, and 16% plan to increase them at some time in the next two years, while 49% do not (the rest are undecided.)

• The question about particularly knowledgeable members got only 43 responses in all, many partial: nearly all respondents have someone particularly knowledgeable about planning, and 90% someone particularly knowledgeable about environment and about urban design and architecture, while a quarter of those who responded said they did not have anyone particularly knowledgeable about traffic or transport. Comparison with 2008 suggests that more societies now have in-house experts on subjects other than planning (in 2008 only planning received over 70% positive response). Specialists were co-opted by between 4 and 6  respondents in each of the subjects except licensing (which got the lowest number of responses anyway).

• 28 societies said that they were members of a local organisation such as a forum, federation, group or network.

• 42 respondents gave their individual membership fee. These ranged from nil to £16, with the mean just above £8 and the median £8; eight had £5 and seven £10.

• Subscriptions for business or corporate members averaged about £30; five respondents charged £50.

• 45 respondents gave usable individual membership figures. The range was from 19 to over 5000; the mean over 800; and the median 430. About half of respondents had corporate members; numbers ranging from 4 to 72.