Give your views on the council’s future budget plans and get a week’s FREE leisure pass
18 October 2016
Bridgend County Borough Council wants local people to tell them what services they think are most important as a public consultation over its future budget plans gets underway.
Everyone who completes the ‘Shaping Bridgend’s Future’ survey by Thursday 1 December 2016will receive a free seven-day pass to a Halo leisure centre, and five randomly-selected participants will prizes that range from a full year’s free Halo membership to theatre tokens and a family ticket to this year’s pantomime at Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion.
Since 2012, the council has already covered a funding shortfall of more than £30m, but over the next four years the authority expects to have to make further savings of £37m.
Faced with the need to make such significant savings, residents of Bridgend County Borough are being urged to give their views and share their thoughts on how they think the authority can achieve this while continuing to deliver services against a backdrop of diminishing local government resources.
A series of workshops, information stands and social media debates have been organised to offer a variety of ways in which residents can take part in the consultation, find out more and give their views:
Community workshops (booking is essential - call 01656 643664 or email firstname.lastname@example.org):
- Caerau Community Centre, 6pm on Thursday 17 November.
- Brynteg Lower School, Bridgend, 6.30pm on Monday 21 November.
- Porthcawl (details and venue to be confirmed).
Information stands between 11am – 3pm at:
- Tesco Extra, Bridgend on Tuesday 18 – Wednesday 19 October.
- John Street Bandstand, Porthcawl on Tuesday 1 – Wednesday 2 November.
- Maesteg Market on Thursday 10 – Friday 11 November.
- Bridgend Market on Monday 14 – Tuesday 15 November.
Social media sessions with Chief Executive Darren Mepham:
- Twitter: between 6.30pm-8pm on Wednesday 19 October.
- Facebook: between 6.30pm-8pm on Wednesday 9 November.
Residents can take part in the Twitter session by tweeting questions to @BridgendCBC using the hashtag #BCBCfuture, and the council will be posting instructions on how to get involved with the Facebook debate on its account at www.facebook.com/bridgendcbc on the day of the session.
Residents can also fill in the consultation questionnaire online at www.bridgend.gov.uk/future or request a hard copy by visiting libraries, emailing email@example.com or calling 01656 643664. Alternative formats are available on request.
Councillor Hywel Williams, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Bridgend County Borough Council provides hundreds of different services for around 140,000 residents living across the county borough. The population is increasing and living longer while ongoing funding shortfalls mean that we expect to have to make further budget savings of around £37m by 2020.
“This is a hugely significant amount of money, but we have already achieved recurrent savings of more than £30m by disposing of surplus council assets, reducing some services and setting up partnerships to run our arts and culture venues, libraries, leisure centres and swimming pools.
“Now we want to try and reflect as many residents’ wishes as possible as we determine where we are going to focus our spending in 2017-18, and how we are going to cover the remaining £37m funding shortfall.
“Council tax raises £67m, but this forms only a small part of the council’s overall budget. To put it in perspective, we spend £87m on education, £40m on adult social care and £17m on safeguarding and family support services alone.
“There are no obvious or easy answers, but our aim is to protect essential services, support those who are most in need, and spend money as wisely, efficiently and as effectively as we can. I hope that you will work with us as we seek to achieve all of this.”
Chief Executive Darren Mepham added: “We want local communities, businesses and organisations to help us make informed decisions that will shape the future of the county borough.
“Our budget consultation asks you to give your views on our proposals for how we think we can deliver services while saving money.
“Among the proposals are new ideas such as saving half a million pounds in energy costs by moving to a new street lighting system, carrying out more road repairs during the daytime, reviewing how parks and playing fields are supported and setting up ‘community action funds’ that can be used by local ward members to carry out smaller scale ‘quick-fix’ priority work within the areas that they represent.
“Whether you fill in the consultation online, pick up a paper copy, attend one of our workshops or information stands or take part in our social media debates, please give us your views so we can take them into account before making any decisions.
“The deadline for completing the consultation is Thursday 1 December 2016, so make sure you don’t miss your chance to have your say.”