A Council that listens and works for residents
£105m has been saved out of the Council’s overall budget in the last 10 years – much of this in the form of cuts to staffing levels. For comparison, the current budget is £122m, with further savings still to be made. As well as reducing services to the public, the staff losses have put a huge amount of pressure on how services are delivered and how Council officers respond to the public.
- Review how the Council talks to residents. We will make the most of automated online systems for those who want to use them, but make sure that residents can always have a proper conversation (in person, by phone or email) – with a clear timescale for resolving problems and respect for residents’ experience and expertise.
- Review staff training and promote positive support for staff throughout the Council. Many Council officers are trying to do the jobs of 2 – 3 people (or more) and ways of working often haven’t been adapted to the new situation. Improvements are needed to management structures and communications within and between departments and with the public to enable a more effective service to be delivered.
- We will use the Council budget as creatively as possible to support the provision of the basic day to day services used by everyone. We will use capital budgets to the maximum possible to invest in the state of our roads, cycle paths and pavements with additional investment in gully and drainage maintenance to tackle worsening surface water flooding.
- We will budget as effectively as possible for day to day spending (the ‘revenue’ budget) that meets the need for Council services for everyone in the city. Adult social care accounts for 31% of the Council budget and this pressure is growing. The Council also funds children’s services, health visitors and school nurses, supports carers and those with Special Educational Needs, runs housing services and much, much more. We will appoint an External Funding Officer to pro-actively seek external funding, working cooperatively with partner organisations in the city; support and sustain local businesses who contribute business rates and aim for fair Council Tax levels for residents on a par with comparable local authorities. Read more here about the Green Group’s 2019/20 budget proposals.
- We will share information with the public openly and honestly on what the Council is doing, reviewing all our procedures and practices to ensure that there is a presumption in favour of sharing information with the public as early as possible, unless there are very strong arguments not to do so.