At the meeting on Thursday 20th of November, the Cabinet agreed to consult on the budget proposals for 2015/16.
For the foreseeable future, Councils will have less money. This comes at a time when the slow recovery from the recession combined with a number of other pressures, such as an ageing population, means that services are in high demand.
The level of the budget shortfall for Cardiff is an estimated £124 million over the next 3 years. It means that a number of difficult choices will need to be made about what we do and how we provide services in the future.
The stark reality is that the Council can no longer do all the things it has done in the past. Equally our response cannot be to “salami-slice” our budget- that is, constantly cutting small amounts from the budgets of all departments every year. We need to become a smaller, smarter organisation that develops new approaches to how services are delivered. However, how we do this is important.
Earlier this year, we made a commitment to being a ‘Co-operative Council’ which means engaging with our citizens, communities, staff and partner organisations to help shape the future design and delivery of services. We will do this by involving local people and communities in these tough decisions.
This should allow us to design services that are based on need, are efficient, offer value for money and are sustainable. Whatever the choices we are faced with, all our budget proposals have been developed in line with our values, which are:
For our budget proposals this means that:
• We will be open in communicating and explaining all our budget proposals
• The proposals will be based on fairness by ensuring that the most vulnerable are least affected
• The proposals have considered how we can best work together in partnerships- with people and organisations- to deliver services more effectively and efficiently.
The public consultation period on the budget proposals for 2015/16 is planned to run from the 21st of November for 7 weeks, closing at midday on the 12th January 2015.
During this time, you will be able to have your say on any of the suggested budget saving proposals. You can do this in the following ways:
• Complete a paper copy of the questionnaire. These will be available at local Hubs, Libraries and Leisure Centres.
• Contribute to the online debate on social media using the hashtag #cdfbudget
• Attend any of the planned community engagement events, details of which can be found here.
Any further questions or information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an important time for the Council, and I would encourage you all to get involved in the consultation process. The final budget will be set at the meeting of Full Council in February 2015, following consultation with the public, other political parties in the Council and an intensive Scrutiny process.