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 will be reported to 4 February Cabinet for final consideration before approval by Full Council on 26 February 2015.

Eleven proposals for reduction in services, including charging for garden waste, district centre car park charges and cuts in street cleansing, are not now going ahead or will be reduced as a result of feedback.

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)

Draft proposals included around £16m worth of 'operational' proposals that are considered to have minimal impact on front line service provision, and cover the following:

  • Review of senior management
  • Review and reduction of back office and support functions
  • Use of a reduced number of agency staff
  • Reduction in general operational costs
  • Review of council buildings and rented accommodation
  • General efficiencies
  • Grant funding opportunities
  • Review of procurement of council expenditure and contracted services.

Draft 'policy' proposals are ones that require a change in council policy, which in most cases directly affect front line service delivery.

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 2014/15 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 16 February 2015