Edinburgh Council seeking views on city services
With almost five months to go before the Capital’s 2019/20 budget is set, the City of Edinburgh Council has unveiled the channels to help encourage as many residents as possible to have their say or share their ideas on where money should be invested and saved over the next four years.
At a meeting of the finance and resources committee last week, councillors approved “Planning for Change and Delivering Services”. This strategy for change sets out the priorities and approach to broaden engagement with the public and partner organisations and encourages views on areas for future change, investment and performance improvements.
This year sees the return of the budget simulator where residents can use the online tool to try their hand at dealing with the budget gap and to help better understand the consequences of making savings decisions across Council services. This interactive online tool has proven to be a popular way of understanding priorities and views of individuals around budget choices.
Residents are being asked for their ideas and thoughts on five priority areas:
- Prevention – intervening before problems escalate for individuals and communities.
- Improving how we operate – providing services in an efficient and effective way and delivering value for money.
- Changing how we work with our partners – delivering better outcomes, requiring the council to work more effectively with partners, including the NHS and voluntary organisations.
- Making the most of our cultural and leisure assets – maximising the benefits generated by Edinburgh’s cultural and leisure assets and ensuring their sustainability for future generations.
- Increasing our income – ensuring that, where appropriate, the council takes advantage of opportunities to increase income and diversify funding streams.
Finance and resources convener, Cllr Alasdair Rankin, said: “Like all local authorities, Edinburgh must prepare for the significant financial challenges that lie ahead. We know that meeting these challenges will require tough choices, which is why we need to embrace a forward-thinking and ambitious change strategy.
“We are purposefully moving away from a year by year approach to the budget to agree a more long-term plan for change and providing services. We need to change how we deliver services to the city as well as becoming more efficient too. To do that we have begun to develop our change strategy that will see us through to 2022-23.
“I would encourage everyone to play their part in the process once again and put forward their views, whether that is by using our online simulator, phone, letter, email, social media, or speaking with their local councillor. All feedback will be considered as part of the process and will inform our next steps.”
Finance and resources vice convener, Cllr Marion Donaldson, added: “We are working hard to bring together proposals which will balance our budget whilst maximising investment in priority services and protecting vulnerable people. We want to be clear that no decisions have yet been made and we want to hear people’s views on our outline ideas.
“The public’s response to our engagements in recent years has been fantastic, with thousands of people sharing their views – all of which have allowed us to make more informed decisions when developing service plans and balancing our budgets.”
People can give their feedback online or by post until December 7.