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PR- 477-08
December 3, 2008


Largest Municipal Services Survey Ever Conducted in the United States

Data Will Be Used to Hold City Agencies Accountable for Improving Service

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum today released findings from the NYC Feedback Citywide Customer Survey. The independent survey was sent to more than 135,000 randomly-selected New York City households in June to assess New Yorkers' opinions and perceptions of important characteristics of the City and services provided by City government. New Yorkers from all five boroughs were asked to voice their opinions on a wide range of issues, from education to sanitation to public safety. This valuable data will provide new quantitative metrics for the Mayor's Office of Operations to hold city agencies accountable for improving municipal services.

"In the private sector, I learned you can never acquire too much pertinent data to help improve your business," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With the economy causing tax revenues to fall, it's more important than ever for City agencies to be effective, efficient, and responsive. To do that, we need to obtain as much accurate information as possible to make smart decisions about where to invest our limited resources.  Over the last seven years, our success in improving government often stemmed from measuring government services, which is the first step towards improvement. The Feedback Survey is another expansion of those efforts. Our Public Advocate has been an outstanding partner on this project, and I want to thank her for her support."

In partnership with the Office of the Public Advocate, the Feedback Survey was designed to gauge public perceptions of quality of life and quality of local government services in the City.  It builds on the successes of other data collection and reporting programs including 311, Citywide Performance Reporting, the streamlined Mayor's Management Report, and the Street Conditions Observation Unit program - all have helped improve city services and increased government transparency.  The complete Feedback Survey results are available at

"I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and the Mayor's Office of Operations for their commitment to improving city services with the NYC Feedback Citywide Customer Survey," said Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. "And I especially want to thank each and every New Yorker who took the time to complete and return the survey. Such essential feedback coming directly from New Yorkers about how they view and experience city services is invaluable, and will ultimately lead to improved services. Our next phase of the project will use focus groups and market research techniques to help us understand perceptions and ratings of city services, so that we can better respond to the needs and concerns of New Yorkers."

Highlights of Survey Results

Percentage of respondents that rated services "excellent," "good" or "fair" included:

85 percent of respondents on matters of public safety, including police and fire protection and police-community relations.

88 percent of respondents on matters of public safety in their own neighborhoods.

85 percent of parents with children enrolled in a public school or after-school program, with more than half rating public schools as "excellent" or "good."  By comparison, 75 percent of respondents that did not have a child enrolled in a public school gave a rating of "excellent," "good" or "fair."

85 percent of respondents on matters of parks, libraries and cultural amenities, with 75 percent of respondents having used a park, playground or library at least once in the past year.

92 percent of respondents on matters of human services, including community centers, senior centers, home health care services for the elderly, and Medicaid services - some of the highest ratings in the survey.

58 percent of respondents on matters of social support services, including preventing homelessness, providing youth employment, public housing, and public assistance.

Respondents were asked to name issues they believe are the most important ones facing the City.  The top five issues, listed in order, were: housing, education, mass transit, crime, and the cost of living.

The Feedback Survey was the largest municipal services survey ever conducted in the United States and the first of its kind in New York City.  It included 34 questions, covering overall quality of life; customer service and access to government; public safety; health and human services; public education; community conditions, such as the cleanliness of streets and sidewalks; transportation, including mass transit; recreation; and culture. 

The independent survey was administered by the National Research Center, a leading research and evaluation firm focused on serving the public sector.  Completed surveys were received from 24,339 residents, an 18 percent response rate - exceeding the expected 15 percent response rate.  Surveys were completed in multiple languages.

The Feedback Survey is an expansion of the Administration's continuous efforts to measure government performance. While individual City agencies periodically conduct their own surveys, the scale of the NYC Feedback Citywide Customer Survey allows for an unprecedented level of analysis.  Specifically, the survey results will allow for a comprehensive comparison of respondents by community board and by demographics.

"We use a series of metrics to gauge the delivery of city services and the Feedback Survey's results will add the dimension of public perception to our evaluation," said Mayor's Office of Operations Director Jeff Kay. "We will be using these results, along with our other performance measurements, to hold City agencies accountable for the quality of the service they are responsible for delivering."

The Mayor's Office of Operations will further analyze the survey's results and will work with City agencies to review how the results can contribute to the continuous improvement of service delivery, operations, and public outreach.  In addition, the Office of the Public Advocate, in cooperation with the Mayor's Office and the Fund for the City of New York, will host a series of neighborhood meetings with respondents to determine respondents' motivation behind survey results.



Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna   (212) 788-2958

Sarah Krauss (Public Advocate)   (212) 669-4193

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