Tuesday February 2nd 2016
As a result of the shortfall in funding local people are being given the opportunity to have their say on the future of council services in Midlothian.
‘Shaping our Future’ is a new public consultation, introduced in response to the challenges facing Midlothian Council over the next few years. With more cuts in Scottish government funding, a growing population and increased demand, the council’s aim is to transform local services to make them fit for the future.
“We’re asking people what their priorities are – for their families and their communities,” explained council leader, councillor Catherine Johnstone. “Government funding cuts mean that local councils will have less money than ever to spend over the next few years. This means that we need to plan for the future, concentrating on those areas where the need is greatest.”
“We also want residents to help us reshape our services,” added councillor Johnstone. “We need to look at how we manage demand, and deliver services in new ways, possibly with greater community involvement. There might also be some non-essential services that we need to stop providing altogether. Above all, we want to focus on getting the right outcomes for our people and our communities.”
In 2017/18, Midlothian Council’s budget ‘shortfall’ is likely to be £11.6 million. Taking into account savings already being made, this is the gap between the amount of money the council gets to spend (in the form of Scottish government grants and other income), and the amount that it needs to pay for the services it currently provides. On current estimates, this shortfall is expected to be£23million by 2020/21.
Every council service in Midlothian is already looking at what it does, how much it costs, how it performs, and how it could be changed and improved. The council is also looking for residents, local organisations, employees and others to make their views known and to get involved in shaping Midlothian’s future.
“We’re already finalising our budget for 2016/17, but we also need to look to future years,” said councillor Johnstone. “We’re asking people to consider a number of key questions: What should Midlothian Council’s spending priorities be; how should we reshape our services to meet the needs of our residents, and how can we save money and be more efficient and effective? We also need people to think about what services could be run differently and whether or not we could share more services with other councils or partner organisations.”
She added: “Although Midlothian Council has already done a lot to change the way that services are delivered, and has saved millions of pounds by working to make our services more efficient and effective, we need to do much more. That’s why we’re asking people to get involved in shaping our future.”
To find out more, visit www.midlothian.gov.uk/shapingourfuture. You can also email your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Have Your Say, Midlothian Council, Midlothian House, Buccleuch Street, Dalkeith EH22 1DN.
You can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, get in touch with your local councillor, and look out for local discussions and consultation events being organised in your area during 2016.Tweet Share on Facebook