Budget consultation - Financial Year 2015-16

Budget consultation - Financial Year 2015-16

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Budget proposals for 2015/16

Between 30 October 2014 and 5 January 2015, over 7,000 people gave thier views on draft budget proposals totalling £29 million. Feedback gathered via questionnaires, online surveys, meetings, interviews and discussions, has been reviewed, collated and analysed and was reported to 4 February Cabinet for final consideration before approval by Full Council on 26 February 2015.

You can read the full 4 February 2015 Cabinet report and consultation findings here: Corporate Budget Plan Cabinet 4 Feb 2015 (PDF 2MB).

Details of all operational and policy draft budget proposals were first detailed in the 29 October Cabinet Report: Financial Plan Draft Revenue Budget and Capital Programme (1.5MB .PDF)

Cabinet have carefully considered all the feedback received and used this, alongside Equality Impact Assessment outcomes and other data, to inform their final recommendations on the budget. A summary of policy budget decisions approved by full council on 26 February 2015 is provided here (82KB .PDF).

As a result, of the £29m worth of savings proposals originally put forward, £1.87m of savings proposals have been removed in 2015/16 and £458,500 in 2016/17 - this has been funded as follows:

  • Use of alternative funding / collection fund income - £748,300 in 2015/16 and £410,000 in 2016/17.
  • Substitute proposals - £319,300 in 2015/16 and £48,500 in 2016/17
  • Use of one off reserves - £800,300 in 2015/16

This leaves a gross budget of £625m for the financial year 2015/16 which starts on 1 April 2015.

Cabinet will not be proceeding with the following proposals:

  • Ref 51: Reduced funding to Community Associations
  • Ref 65: Libraries – closure of 5 libraries in 2015/16
  • Ref 79: Garden waste collection service – reduction in collection period to 6 months
  • Ref 80: Charging for the collection of garden waste
  • Ref 82: Street Cleansing reduction in activity.
  • Ref 96: Car parking charges for district centres
  • Ref 152: Review of respite service for people with learning disability
  • The deferred saving of £90,000 from 2014/15 for the removal of subsidies for the maintenance of grass sports facilities

The following proposals have been withdrawn and replaced with alternatives:

  • Ref 62: amended from £97,000 to £48,500 in 2015/16 for the review of the outdoor adventure service, saving to be made from staffing changes, with £48,500 moving to 2016/17 (changed from the proposed ceasing of the service which has been withdrawn).
  • Ref 69: New Art Gallery - the proposed reduction in winter opening hours will no longer be implemented. Saving will be made from operational staffing changes
  • Ref 101: Reduced maintenance of road markings. Replaced with alternative operational saving to the same value.
  • Ref 111: Cease participation in Recruitability. Replaced with alternative operational saving to the same value.

The following proposals have been amended:

  • Ref 58: Parks, nature reserves and public open spaces. A reduced level of saving will be implemented.

Cabinet have decided to proceed with the remaining savings proposals in 2015/16 and, where needed, will continue to consult on those relating to 2016/17 savings.

Review all our budget consultation press releases here: Walsall Council press releases

We asked, You said, We did

Information gathered as part of budget consultation is used alongside other data and knowledge to inform decision making around the budget. Each year we summarise what people told us and what decisions were made.  

Consultation findings and the council's response is summariesed in Section A of the Corporate Budget Plan Cabinet 4 Feb 2015 (PDF 2MB).  Detailed findings from consultation on all 54 draft policy proposals were shared with Cabinet in December 2014 and is available here December 2014: Summary of findings from consultation on draft budget policy proposals for 2015/16 and beyond (637KB .PDF).

Our approach to consultation

Our approach to consultation has involved a wide range of methods involving the collection of both quantitative data via surveys (providing numbers and %s) and qualitative data via dialogue (providing rich detailed information).

The 54 draft policy proposals were summarised in a handy budget booklet (392KB .PDF) and the centre pages include a short questionnaire. Printed copies of the booklet were available to pick up at a range of locations all over the brought and this brief Easy Read guide to the budget setting process (608KB .PDF) was also available.

The booklet and questionnaire was supported by twelve other more detailed service specific questionnaires covering proposals 22, 27, 57, 58, 59, 60, 65, 66, 67, 77, 78, 79, 82, 83, PH1 to 9, 163 and 164 which were available in paper or online:

Face to face drop in sessions

In addition, a range of ways were also provided for people to give their views face to face at meetings, focus groups and drop in sessions. Information was made available in a range of formats including Makaton, PhotoSymbols, Flash cards, British Sign Language interpretation, audio format and large print.

Residents give thier comments to a council officer

Local residents give thier views at Darlaston library

We held a number of informal sessions where anyone could drop in and give their views to us. Staff took comments on all of the draft budget proposals and gave further information on how people can have their say. Twenty different sessions took place all over the borough between 10 November and 9 December 2014.

In addition, during December, six special drop in sessions were held at libraries set for closure and a meeting was held with users of Streetly library.

Phase one of budget listening and engagement (August to September 2014)

Phase one of consultation and engagement was general in nature but focussed on gaining a better understanding of the priorities of those who live, work, visit or do business in the borough. Over 4,600 people gave their views using comment postcards and questionnaires, via online surveys, at face to face sessions and through a specially commissioned telephone survey. These views have been summarised and reported to Cabinet for consideration as part of the decision making process.

Initial results from budget consultation were presented for consideration by Cabinet on Wednesday 17 December 2014 which was used to give an early indication of whether people generally support or generally do not support each of the 54 draft policy proposals.

Budget setting

It’s a difficult time to be in the public sector. The world is changing and there will be less money. The public sector will have to change radically because of having less money. Some difficult choices will have to be made and at Walsall Council we expect that we’ll have to save £86 million over the next four years.

Walsall Council provides a wide range of statutory (by law) and discretionary (optional) services. Remind yourself of the different services we provide by reviewing our list of services (20KB .PDF) and street scene picture (178KB .PDF).

We’re working harder than ever to make Walsall a better place for everyone. We’ll have less money and we are likely to have fewer staff so we’ll be able to do less. But we’ll make the best of what we’ve got. You can read more about the council's budget in the Budget Book 2015/16 (.PDF 3.19MB) or view our key financial information page .

Contact us:

Budget Consultation
Walsall Council
Civic Centre
Darwall Street

Email: budgetconsultation@walsall.gov.uk

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This page was last updated on 20 August 2015