Birmingham City Council today launched its budget consultation “to meet the current financial challenge whilst protecting the key outcomes for the city”, welcoming views and comments from service users, residents, businesses and staff.
Feedback on the consultation document is invited up until January/February next year to help the city council refine its ideas into a package for final budget decisions to be made in March 2011.
In the foreword, Stephen Hughes reflects on the Government's Spending Review last month and that it sets out not only an “unparalleled financial challenge for local councils” but also a change in the role of government and state.
“In Birmingham we are committed to developing an enabling and empowering council which helps individuals and communities to become increasingly self sufficient and take more responsibilities for their communities,” he said.
“Rather than the traditional approach of focussing on reducing money available for existing services, we have stepped back and looked at the key outcomes that Birmingham needs.”
The consultation document covers the national context, prioritising deficit reduction; a strategic approach to delivering the required savings; and proposals for individual service areas, including savings for each directorate and impacts on staffing.
Councillor Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance, said:
“With every challenge there is an opportunity and it is now time to refocus our services. This is particularly the case with Adults and Communities, where we are looking at delivering a new model.
“This document is well researched and costed and indicative of the savings required. But it is draft, not a final version, and subject to consultation with comments requested by 17 January 2010.”
Information on the budget consultation will be made as widely available as possible, including online via the council's website and existing email bulletins; and publications such as the council's magazine for residents 'Forward' and the staff magazine 'Inner Voice'. Residents, business, service users, council employees and other stakeholders will be able to send comments into the council by email, text or post.