What Really Matters:Consultation Findings
- Meeting of Cabinet, Thursday, 8th November 2012 6.15 p.m. (Item 120.)
- View the background to item 120.
A report by the Chief Executive informed that the Cabinet, at its meeting on 10 July 2012, had instructed officers to implement a comprehensive programme of consultation and engagement in order to inform the development of the Council’s Corporate and Financial Plan for 2013-2016 and further to guide the development of significant budget savings (Minute No. 45 refers).
Included in the report were the results of the first stage of the consultation process for the Cabinet’s consideration. These results were intended to provide a good understanding of residents, partners and employees views on the Council’s future priorities and appropriate methods in which savings should be delivered.
All of the comments provided through the consultation were analysed and summarised within the report, and all comments would be published on the Council website during November 2012.
The Cabinet was told that, subject to its approval, the report would be followed by a second stage of consultation which would begin in November 2012. This second stage would involve consultation with residents, employees and other stakeholders to gather views on a range of detailed options for achieving the necessary budget savings for 2013/14.
The Cabinet noted that the consultation had involved a programme of over 150 events, and speaking to over 13,000 residents. Over 37,500 paper questionnaires had been distributed, and 6921 responses had been received – giving a return rate of around 18%. This was a higher response in comparison to any previous Wirral Council consultation and, according to published data, higher than any comparable exercise anywhere in the UK.
Members noted that the summarised results analysis contained within the report demonstrated support for each of the principles contained within the consultation, with a number of caveats to be considered as detailed budget options were developed.
Each of the Council’s five Overview and Scrutiny Committees had met to consider the findings of the What Really Matters Consultation and the respective Minutes were circulated for the Cabinet’s information.
Councillor Phil Davies remarked on the very good response to the consultation. He was pleased that so many people had engaged and participated in the consultation. He informed that as a result of the very substantial cuts to the Council’s budget it now needed to produce a model for delivering Council services. The feedback from the survey and from the Overview and Scrutiny Committees’ discussions would be taken into consideration when the budget was set following a progressive open and transparent process having regard to all of the issues.
Councillor Phil Davies on behalf of the Cabinet thanked all who had taken part in the consultation exercise and the staff who had co-ordinated the whole process.
Councillor Ann McLachlan told the Cabinet that the response to the consultation had been excellent and she was heartened to hear what the next stage would be. It was vital that the Council engaged with the public and the community and listened to what they had to say.
(1) the Cabinet notes the findings of the What Really Matters consultation and thanks Wirral residents for taking the time to take part in this process;
(2) the Cabinet notes that officers will shortly be publishing detailed savings options, and instructs officers to consider the following principles highlighted in the consultation alongside those options:
· ensure that local communities, partner organisations and the Council’s workforce are fully engaged and consulted upon changes which will affect them;
· ensure that every step is taken to prevent vulnerable people and low income families becoming disadvantaged through changes to services or increases in charges;
· ensure that the Council retains overall responsibility for the quality of the services delivered to Wirral residents in the event of outsourcing;
· ensure that communities do not become isolated through changes to services or closing of Council facilities;
· ensure services provide value for money for local residents through reducing operational running costs and achieving full cost recovery for services that the Council charges for;
· enable community organisations and groups of staff to create co-operative or mutual organisations to deliver services that the Council currently provides, subject to robust contract monitoring;
· consider whether the private, community or voluntary sector could provide a more efficient service at a lower cost for services that the Council currently provides, subject to robust contract monitoring; and
· consider and minimise any negative implications that may arise from service changes to other functions that the Council provides.
(3) the Cabinet instructs officers to further consult on those detailed options to ensure Wirral residents have every opportunity to provide their views on how savings are made in 2013/14 and that residents are further able to influence every stage of the budget setting process, as outlined in the project objective; and
(4) the Cabinet instructs Council Officers to report back with the results of that consultation to further meetings of Overview and Scrutiny Committees and to a Special meeting of the Cabinet on 20 December 2012 and to the Cabinet meeting on 7 February 2013 in order that the Cabinet and the Council have a robust evidence base on which to set the budget for 2013/14.