|Give your views on the Council's next budget|
At a meeting on Thursday 1st March, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council set its budget for 2012/13. Difficult decisions were made but the Council was able to make the £12m of savings demanded by the Government whilst still maintaining the service currently provided.
Amongst the decisions made was a freeze on Council Tax for the second year running. It was also decided to maintain existing parking charges across the borough with a freeze on many parks, leisure and library charges.
For more details please view the press release Council sets 2012/13 budget.
Public Budget Consultation Results
The media coverage of the public sector economic situation places a worthy expectation for local authorities to engage communities in the difficult decisions that will determine what services are delivered by the Council and how.
Therefore, between 19th September and 30th October 2011, the Council used an online budget simulator to consult local residents and service users on their spending and budgetary priorities for 2012/13. The primary purpose of the simulator was to help people understand the complexity of the budget setting process: how challenging it is to find savings; the trade-off between services, whilst being able to see the possible consequences.
Over 1000 individuals attempted the simulator; however because of the difficult nature of the decisions only 303 individuals actually submitted budgets achieving a 10% savings target online. This is a good return for the number of people who attempted the simulator, providing useful qualitative feedback and opinions. In addition, 6 paper questionnaires were received. This exercise was predominately planned as an online activity, consequently a large paper return was not anticipated. The response figures clearly demonstrate that people want to be involved and receive the information and be given the opportunity to respond, but recognise the challenge and responsibility for the actual decision making faced by the Council.
Careful planning and innovative ways of working are helping the Council meet the Government's spending challenge - without damaging the services that have made it one of the UK's best councils. Southend has succeeded in its journey to become an excellent Council as a result of hard work and financial prudence. The Council is now looking at how it will work with even less funding over the next three years. By 2015 it must trim a further £27 million from its budget.
Key Findings from Your Southend, Your Say Budget Consultation
Maintaining roads, footpaths, cycle lanes, street lights and gullies / drains was the spending area which most respondents decided to increase. Supporting Drug & Alcohol Misuse was the spending area which most respondents decided to decrease. Services for children in need was the spending area which most respondents decided not to change.
The overall results and detailed comments from the consultation have helped to inform the preparation of the 2012/13 draft revenue budget.
Last updated: 23rd August 2012