Budget 2014-15

Closed 22 Jan 2014

Opened 11 Nov 2013

Feedback Updated 18 Mar 2014

We Asked

Over a period of 10 weeks we asked the public about their views on the proposed budget savings for 2014/15. We put forward almost 30 ideas how to generate savings, followed by a number of detailed savings options proposed by Council officers. Overall, nearly half a thousand responses were submitted from individuals as well as various groups and organisations.

You Said

The budget consultation attracted a mixed reaction from the public. While some proposals were generally welcomed, others faced harsh criticism and disapproval. For example, 63% of respondents supported the proposal to stop funding to voluntary organisations, who cannot demonstrate alignment with local priorities. On the other hand 46% of respondents were against the proposal to charge for car parking in Alloa Town Centre. Following publication of detailed officer savings proposals, a number of people expressed their disapproval regarding proposals to reduce the number of learning assistants, an increase in music tuition fees and changes to school transport between Tillicoultry and Alva.

We Did

When setting the Budget for 2014/15, we took all respondents’ views into account and we have made a number of budget saving decisions including (but are not exhaustive to): - Music tuition fees will remain at 2013 prices, - Parking charges will not be introduced, - School transport will continue to be provided between Tillicoultry and Alva, - No increase in council tax as it would mean a loss of around £1m-worth of government grants, - Eight learning assistant posts will be removed and remaining staff will be allocated according to areas of priority need, - Following a review of voluntary organisations, we will cease funding a number of organisations in October. Details of all budget decisions made can be accessed via the link below: http://www.clacksweb.org.uk/council/meetings/agenda/562/

Results Updated 18 Mar 2014

The public budget consultation ran for a period of 10 weeks and attracted over 450 responses.

Four methods were used to gather views on the budget proposals.  These were public meetings (59 responses), an online survey on Clackmannanshire Citizen Space (327 responses), email and letter (92 responses).

The consultation concentrated on 4 key areas, namely, what the Council could:

  • Stop
  • Reduce
  • Charge for
  • Change

In general, the budget proposals drew broad and mixed reactions.

In the section exploring what services the Council could Stop providing, public opinion was very mixed. There was some acknowledgement that the Council should stop funding voluntary organisations who cannot demonstrate alignment with local priorities and also a high proportion of views against stopping school crossing patrols as these are seen to be paramount to child safety. Several suggestions were made on other areas that the council could stop.

Similarly, the section exploring the proposals to Reduce provision of Council services resulted in mixed opinion. Over half of respondents were against reducing respite support to carers, reducing the frequency of bin collections and reducing gritting. The letter and email responses fed back opposition to reducing Learning Assistant posts, Home/School liaison worker posts, speech and language therapy in schools and primary school swimming lessons. The most palatable services to reduce seemed to be open space maintenance and opening hours of council facilities and offices. Again, numerous suggestions on reducing service provision were made by the public.

In the section looking at proposals for Charging, the results again were fairly mixed. In general, the public agreed with proposals to increase charges for the hire of Council facilities. There was also limited support for prioritising free access to services through the use of means testing, increased charging for school meals and increased social work charges. However, several parents of children with disabilities wrote into the Council explaining why free respite provision is so important for them.

Finally, the section exploring proposals on Changing the way the Council provides services, resulted in clearer public opinion. The vast majority of respondents agreed that the Council should make more efficient and widespread use of Council buildings and merge school and community facilities. Likewise, there was overall consensus that the Council should make it easier to access Council services and should target funds to prevent problems occurring.

Overall, there was a sense of acknowledgement from the public that there were difficult decisions to be made and they welcomed the fact that the Council had asked for their opinion.

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Overview

The Council’s ambitious, wide-ranging programme of
transformation is stepping up a gear and we are entering a period of significant change for public service delivery in Clackmannanshire.
 
Our key focus over the next few years will be on ‘Making Clackmannanshire Better’: our customers’ needs are changing, and we are focusing on how we can better meet these changing needs, whilst also improving our customers’ experience in accessing the services we provide. In the process, we will be aiming to improve our performance, reduce our costs and achieve the best possible outcomes for the
people of Clackmannanshire.
 
In common with all public sector organisations we continue to face challenging financial targets. We need to find just over £7 million of savings for 2014/15 to be able to set a balanced budget, so business as usual is not an option. 
 
We want the people who use the hundreds of services we provide every day to be aware of the difficult choices ahead during these challenging times. This booklet aims to help our communities and partners understand the scale of the financial
challenges facing the Council.
 
One thing is certain; we cannot continue to deliver services in the way we do - we must reduce costs, better meet our customers’ changing needs and operate in a more integrated way with our public service partners, so that we can collectively achieve better outcomes for our communities.
 
Your feedback will help us to decide on the relative priority of the services we deliver and those which are most important to the communities we serve. In addition, your views will be used to help us identify those services we should aim to prioritise for the future.
 
Gary Womersley
Council Leader

Events

  • Budget Engagement Event

    From 11 Dec 2013 at 18:00 to 11 Dec 2013 at 20:00

    A budget engagement event is being held giving you a chance to shape the future of public services in Clackmannanshire.

    This is part of the wide ranging public engagement programme to gather comments from the people who use the hundreds of services we provide every day.

    The Council has already saved £14m over the past three years and it needs to save a further £25m over the next five years. Ultimately councillors will be making budget decisions so it is vital that their decisions are well informed and the impact of changes is understood.

    Location: Devonvale Hall,
    Moss Road Tillicoultry Clackmannanshire
    FK13 6NS

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • All groups
  • All individuals

Interests

  • Budget