The council’s budget will be set in February 2012, against a backdrop of increasing pressure for financial resources across the public sector. The budget consultation gives residents the chance to tell the council which areas they want to see the council to invest in.
Feedback from residents about which services are important will help shape how council services are delivered in the future.
This year the council is consulting on the options coming from the third phase of service reviews. The savings proposals amount to £2.248m. Most of the savings options proposed this year are a result of reviewing individual services and focus on making the council more efficient.
These include reorganising teams and locations to make the best use of skills and resources, streamlining processes to make it easier to get things done and making better use of technology.
Changes proposed will mean the council works in a more efficient way and will not have a major impact on the way front line services are delivered, which is good news for the public.
Only three proposals require policy changes. The council could save £161,000 by reducing the amount of grant funding available to make improvements to private homes.
And a further £59,000 could be saved if proposals to stop providing some adult care services directly are accepted and the council asks other organisations to deliver them on its behalf.
The proposal to outsource the council’s estates management team also requires a change to current policy.
There are a number of ways the public can have their say:
- Online – at www.argyll-bute.gov.uk. The web site has information on where the council gets its funding from and how the budget is currently allocated.
- Public meetings
- Complete an on line survey
- Call into a council office, library or sports centre and fill in one of the budget consultation postcards and post them in their suggestion box.
- Take part in live web chats with the council leader and chief executive
Speaking on the consultation Argyll and Bute Council Leader Dick Walsh said, “Last year was the first year we ran an in depth budget consultation and the feedback from communities helped us to structure this year’s budget.
“This year the council will again have to take very difficult decisions regarding the way services are delivered.
“The savings proposed for this year focus on changing the way the council is organised – making us more efficient. This means we don’t have to take so much budget away from our front line services. At the same time our performance is holding steady or improving.
“Residents should be confident that the council’s finances are well managed and that we are doing all we can to protect front line services. We want to make sure that the changes proposed to services are understood and people have had a chance to give their views.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved. It’s only by telling us what services are important to you that we can realise our potential together and take the decisions that will have the least impact on people’s lives.”