Agenda item

Budget Consultation - Summary of Findings

Kevin MacCallum, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, will give a presentation summarising the budget consultation findings.


Kevin MacCallum, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, gave a presentation summarising the budget consultation findings.


He outlined the methodology used in the consultation process which included on and offline promotion, with the Council website, email and social media plus a paper questionnaire available at over 50 locations throughout the borough holding the information. The response rate was the highest to date with over 10,000 responses, though a large proportion of the additional response had come from Wirral West. Wallasey was more under-represented than would usually be expected in this type of exercise, forming 17.2% of the responses. Three petitions had so far been received regarding some of the proposals in respect of:


·  Save Girtrell Court Respite Home

·  Stop the Job Cuts, Stop Service Cuts

·  School Crossing Patrol, Christ Church School, Moreton


He gave a breakdown of the figures for feedback on the general consultation, including, shared services, charging for services, alternative delivery, commissioning and assets.


Feedback on the ten specific budget options was summarised and he informed the Committee that all comments had been published verbatim on the council website. Reference was also made, where appropriate, to comments and representations received outside of the consultation channels, through letters, emails etc. to the Leader, Chief Executive or other Council Member or officer.


With regard to the Girtrell Court proposal, a statutory consultation process was also under way until the middle of March involving every family which was currently accessing services, having a one-to-one meeting with a social work professional.


He outlined the next steps with the results of the consultation being reported to the Policy and Performance Coordinating Committee on 16 February, consideration by Cabinet on 22 February, which would recommend its budget proposals to the Budget Council on 3 March, 2016.


Responding to comments from Members, Kevin MacCallum stated that no paper petition had yet been received in respect of Girtrell Court. Verbatim comments on all the specific proposals had been published on the Council’s website and he could provide a link to these. Petitions would have to be submitted at least five days before the Budget Council meeting. In respect of Beechwood Recreation Centre and the potential transfer to a Community Development Trust, this was the only Leisure Centre under active discussion to be transferred to a community organisation.


Some Members who had had concerns over the Girtrell Court proposal, having been assured by the Director of Adult Social Services about the one-to-one meetings taking place with service users, expressed the view that they were now more hopeful that there would be appropriate replacement provision.


Disappointment was expressed at the participation rate in the consultation, with Wallasey being the lowest of the four constituencies and less than half the rate in Wirral West. This could have distorted the consultation results in respect of the welfare rights advice service, where those most likely to use the service where in those areas where the lowest responses to the consultation had come from.


A Member suggested that with Girtrell Court still subject to consultation the Committee should not be pre-empting any consultation results.


Other Members suggested that some of the service users’ families who had had one-to-one meetings, in some instances two or three, had achieved nothing and were now feeling left out on a limb. The statutory consultation period and one-to-one meetings would not finish until after the Cabinet and Council had met on 22 February and 3 March respectively to propose and set the Council budget, so the consultation would not have finished until after a decision had been made.


The Committee thanked Kevin MacCallum for his presentation.