Edinburgh residents are being asked for their views on changes to council services for the 2018/19 budget, which will be set early next year.
A set of proposals, which aim to deliver £21m of savings in the coming financial year were agreed to be released for public engagement yesterday (Tuesday, 7 November) by councillors at a meeting of the City of Edinburgh’s Council’s Finance and Resources Committee.
A six-week engagement period focusing on six key themes will now begin running until Tuesday, 19 December. The six themes include: increasing income, improving services, being more efficient, managing our suppliers, making the most of our assets and workforce productivity.
Residents will be asked through a variety of forums including an online survey to consider the impact of the changes outlined in the proposals on themselves, their families and their community, and to highlight opportunities or challenges they can see.
A Question Time event will also be webcast from the City Chambers on Monday, 27 November to give members of the public a chance to quiz councillors about the proposals.
The Council will also be working closely with communities, equality groups and partners over the coming months by running workshops looking at reshaping services, and working with communities to agree how local budgets should be spent.
Councillor Alasdair Rankin, Finance and Resources Convener, said:
We have a strong track record of effective financial management and since 2012/13 we have saved around £240m by working more efficiently and prioritising our services. This includes saving nearly £7m through making better use of our buildings and other assets, £47m through smarter buying of goods and services and £5m through sharing services within the Council and with other partners.
However, the financial position for all local authorities, including Edinburgh, remains extremely challenging, which is why we are engaging with the public on the draft budget.
Marion Donaldson, Finance and Resources Vice Convener, said:
We have an increasing population, inflationary pressures, decreased budgets and greater demand for our services so it is really important that we get residents’ views on how we can more efficiently deliver services.
Over the past five years in our budget engagements residents told us to protect education, care for older people, culture, and services for vulnerable children and adults. These continue to be our priorities.
It is important that residents know that we are listening and responding to what they have to say. In the past, we have put forward proposals and people have responded very strongly to them and we’ve listened such as keeping free music tuition in schools and removing the option to reduce street crossing patrols in 2016.
Please consider how these changes could affect you, your community, and the city as a whole – I urge you to play your part this year.
The draft budget, online survey and registration form for Question Time can be accessed at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/playyourpart
Residents can also have their say by:
Phoning on 0131 200 2350 (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 3.40pm Friday)
Writing to Freepost, RSJC-SLXC-YTJY, Play your part, Council Leader, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ
Speaking to your local councillor.