The results of the largest ever public consultation on Calderdale Council’s budget have been revealed with over 12,000 people taking part and resulting in over 4300 formal responses.
The ‘Your Council, Your Voice’ public consultation was launched in September 2015 to help the Council identify savings of £9.6 million which must be made by 2017/18.
During the nine week consultation residents, local businesses, staff and voluntary organisations were invited to tell the Council where we should invest; how services could be run differently and how communities can help us keep Calderdale a fantastic place – all in the context of a further 12% cut in government funding by 2017/18 and at least another £20 million savings by 2018/19.
Councillor Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said: “I’m delighted by the response to ’Your Council, Your Voice’ and I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation.
“People have told us just how much they value what we do and they’ve also shared with us with a wealth of good ideas about how we can transform our services for the future. We have been given clear direction on how we can make improvements and which services people feel are a priority.
“We will now include this detailed information in the formal budget process which will begin in January 2016, and which will help us to shape the future of Calderdale Council.”
The consultation revealed that residents:
Care most about services to the most vulnerable people – children at risk and older people needing social care.
Care about some core services like highways, street cleaning, parks, open spaces and community safety.
Care about and value the local environment and feel the Council should protect it.
Support the development of market towns but are less certain of the benefit of major projects in a time of austerity.
Support the move to more digital and online services.
Would support a review of how the Council take decisions as a way of saving money.
Agreed that they would be prepared to pay more Council Tax to help maintain frontline services than disagreed, especially when seeking to balance our budget.
Would support moving community services into fewer buildings.
Would be happy for some services to be provided by other organisations, such as the voluntary or private sector, however there was greater support for the Council as a service provider than from the public consultation held in 2010.
Support apprenticeships but feel the role of the Council in supporting business is less important than other priorities.
Think it is important to invest in the geographic areas of greatest need but also think that it is more important to support vulnerable people wherever they live.
Realised that it is difficult to balance the Council’s budget and many people think further spending reductions for the local authority should be challenged.
All the comments and data which people have submitted during the consultation are available to view on the Council’s website at www.calderdale.gov.uk. The responses will help to inform the budget savings discussions as the Council begins to prepare the formal budget proposals.
A further formal public consultation on the final budget savings proposals will be held in January 2016 as part of the annual budget setting process.