Budget Consultation 2017/18
Residents in the Rochford district have responded with views and suggestions in the recent budget survey which will go on to help to shape the services they have identified as being most valued.
The consultation asked residents to name the council services that they considered to be ‘very important’ with the top three being, Waste and Recycling, Safeguarding and Community Safety and Street Cleansing.
When it came to identifying ways to make savings or generate income, a number of ideas were put forward. There was a general feeling that the Council should seek to maximise its income by acting commercially wherever possible e.g. by offering discretionary services for a fee, expanding services where commercially viable and seeking to grow its business rates base.
A number of comments related to the Council being more efficient in its working practices, becoming more streamlined by reducing administration and leadership costs, and striving to become as energy efficient as possible. There were also suggestions that the Council could organise its political administration differently and reduce the costs of some Member services/ allowances.
In addition there were suggestions that services could be reduced in certain areas for example reducing the frequency of some waste/recycling collections.
There were calls for greater enforcement of a number of areas including anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and littering plus air and noise pollution and a desire to retain some services such as public toilets and for greater investment in leisure facilities and youth services.
Some suggestions related to areas which the Council is not directly responsible for including street lighting, public footway and highway maintenance and policing services.
Like all local authorities, the council is facing further cuts to the money it receives from the government. It has already made £3.1m of efficiency savings since 2010 and needs to find a further £1.8m by 2022/23.
The feedback from this consultation was considered by Members during the budget process. The Leader of Rochford District Council, Cllr Terry Cutmore said: “We have carefully considered the feedback from this survey when setting the 2018/19 budget, and focused our efforts on achieving efficiency savings from our major contracts as well as driving out opportunities to generate additional income where possible. Given the size of the budget gap the council faces from 2019/20 onwards there will need to be an ongoing effort to identify additional savings and income generation ideas, so we continue to welcome any feedback members of the public may have in relation to how we can best do this.”
The budget survey was available online on the Council website with copies of the survey also available at local libraries and distributed at council meetings and events in order to get as many responses as possible.
If you answered the budget survey, or if you want to help shape and inform policy in the future, why not join our ‘Have Your Say’ group?
The group is made up of Rochford residents who volunteer to express their views on the Council’s proposals and local services. The information you provide helps the Council to make its decisions.
In order for us to get the information we need, you will be asked to fill in questionnaires and participate in focus groups.
When signing up you will be asked to highlight any particular areas of interest to ensure your views are taken into account when relevant consultations come up.
You can sign up at the Group at: http://www.rochford.gov.uk/hyssignup
To view the Budget Survey results summary, please see www.rochford.gov.uk/haveyoursay under ‘Related Content’.