Budget consultation report approved by Cabinet

spending plan

Coins

Our cabinet members have approved a report on the results of the most recent budget consultation at a meeting on Tuesday 12 January.

The consultation ran for 6 weeks between 26 October and 6 December 2015 and 1410 people took part.

The consultation questionnaire asked people how they felt we could best support our three key priorities:

  1. Supporting communities to do more for themselves and each other
  2. Keeping vulnerable people safe and helping them stay in control of their lives
  3. Focusing on the things that only the council can do

When completing the questionnaire you were asked to consider which of two opposing statements you most agreed with, for 12 options that related to our priorities.

The options that received the most support overall were around road safety and supporting disabled people.

Your thoughts

84% of you who took part felt that parents have a clear responsibility for getting their children to school safely. Only 16% felt that the council should provide services that enable children to get to school safely.

83.5% supported the idea that we should help to maximise disabled people’s independence by helping them to do more for themselves, rather than meeting the needs of disabled people by doing things for them.

With regards to accessing our services the majority of you (74%) preferred the idea of travelling to a central location, with a wider range of our services available. Only 26% generally preferred having to travel to separate places to access different services.

Opinion was divided on the location of museum and gallery collections with 55.5% of you who took part in favour of museum collections staying where they are now, whilst 44.5% were supportive of exhibitions being held in new and different locations.

The biggest split in opinion was around how we should prioritise which services it maintains. 52% of people felt that the council should prioritise maintaining services that most people use or all people benefit from, but the remaining 48% favoured us prioritising the maintenance of services for the most vulnerable adults and children in our area.

A final question asked what local people think is the most important thing we do. 752 people answered this question on the questionnaire and a further 3 provided answers via social media. A third of you who answered indicated it was supporting vulnerable people, other popular responses were waste collection, services for all, education, safe communities and roads.

Cllr Turner, cabinet member for resources said:

The number of people that completed the survey shows that there is a growing awareness of the budget challenges faced by the council and that people have strong feelings about the services we offer. We take the results of the consultation very seriously and they will be used to inform our proposals for the 2016/17 budget.

It’s important that the public understand the huge challenges we face in the next few years, due to the continued cuts in our budget from central Government. As we look to reconfigure services, we also need to understand their needs, and involve them as much as possible in the difficult decisions that we will have to take.”

The findings will now be presented to full council on 20 January 2016 and be considered as part of the budget planning process and decision making for the coming financial year.

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