Social attitudes survey

Results show huge appetite for community involvement.

96% of Scots think that local people should be involved in making decisions about the design and delivery of their public services.

The 2015 Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey, published today, also shows that 35% of people had either volunteered at, or help set up, a local community organisation. And well over half, 61%, think improvements can be made.

The survey, run by ScotCen Social Research asked people about belonging to a local area and participating through co-production – volunteers and professionals working together.

The findings also highlight that people in Scotland:

  • feel they belong to their local area (68%), and meet socially with friends, relatives or work colleagues at least a few times a month (88%)
  • feel that improvements are possible in their local area (61%)
  • had either volunteered at (or help set up) a local community organisation (35%), or helped to organise a community event (17%)

The Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, Angela Constance, announced the survey findings on a visit to the Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) today. The GDA are hosting a training day for ‘Drivers for Change’ which is GDA’s policy and campaigns forum of disabled people who take an active role in making change in society.

Ms Constance said:

“This report makes clear that there is a huge appetite within communities right across Scotland to get involved and make a real change in their local area.

“That is great news for all our local communities and we need to use the energy and enthusiasm out there and support people who so clearly have the ideas and drive to make their own local services better.

“We all want to make our communities better places to live and this will only be possible by working together and putting people at the heart of service design and delivery will enable public services to flourish.”

Author of the report, Susan Reid from ScotCen Social Research said:

“Today’s report shows that the public feel strongly that people should be involved in making decisions about how local public services are planned and run, and a majority think that people can find ways to improve their local area when they want to.

“However, we found that the public’s views on whether people can improve their local area varied according to where they lived: 77% of people living in rural areas agreed people could find a way to improve their local area, compared with 56% of people living in large urban areas.

“The challenge, then, is to understand the different dynamics of participation that affect different parts of society, such as those in urban and rural communities, so that people across Scotland can be supported to become more involved in making a difference to their local community.”

Notes to editors

You can review the survey report in full at:

These findings build on recommendations from the Christie Commission (2011) and the First Minister’s ambition that public services in Scotland are more accessible, open and transparent and increase the collaboration between public services and communities.

The findings relate to the Scottish Government-commissioned module of the Scottish Social Attitudes survey, carried out by the independent ScotCen Social Research which is part of NatCen Social Research. Since 1999 the survey has asked around 1,200 to 1,500 people what it's like to live in Scotland and what they think about how Scotland is run.

The 2015 Scottish Social Attitudes survey interviewed a representative random probability sample of 1,288 people between July 2015 and January 2016. Data are weighted to reflect known patterns of non-response bias and the age and gender profile of the Scottish population.

You can view the survey technical report at:


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