Feedback from the ‘Let’s Talk’ Public Engagement
January 7, 2014 Leave a comment
Against a national backdrop of reductions in public spending, setting the budget for Warwickshire County Council will require difficult decisions and choices to be made. Given the size of the financial challenge, it was important to open up a conversation with the people of Warwickshire and seek their views on where money might be saved and what their service priorities are.
You can find the report that was presented to Cabinet on the 12th December here which sets out the detailed analysis from the different mechanisms of engagement that took place.
The overall key messages were:
- Overall, a total number of 661 people engaged with the Council through the various channels available in the ‘Let’s Talk’ public engagement programme.
- The majority of respondents expressed a wish to hold Council tax at 0%, overall they chose to reduce spending by on average 26% across all service areas.
- Findings from all routes indicate that there is a moderate degree of tolerance by Warwickshire respondents for a council tax increase to ensure the delivery of services to off-set the proposed savings required although the level of increase is minimal.
- Overall, the results highlight that the public are not overly concerned about protecting absolutely one service over another when allocating resources.
- The securing of employment and job opportunities for residents in Warwickshire received a slightly greater priority.
- A significant proportion of all respondents regardless of engagement method consider that extra savings should be made through more efficient use of school transport services and switching off streetlights as well as the provision of adult social care services.
- Positively, the Leader and other Cabinet Members had approximately 130 conversations with Warwickshire residents at the 8 Let’s Talk events, 4 which were in shopping venues and 4 at libraries. Key areas of importance highlighted at these events included protecting front line services for the most vulnerable, library services and children’s centres. The majority of respondents in many of these sessions were parents with young families or older people.
Warwickshire County Council would like to thank all those who took the time to provide us with their views on the direction of travel for the authority as it looks to set a balanced budget for 2014/15 and over the medium term.
The information presented in the Cabinet report will be among the information considered by the Executive of Council when they propose a budget at their meeting on 28th January 2014.
The final decision on the 2014/15 budget and Council Tax will be made by Full Council at their meeting on 6th February 2014.