Budget Views 2012 Blog 3

By on 14/11/2011 in Blog, Budget Views

Welcome back to my blog about the Birmingham Budget 2012/13 consultation.

Since I wrote my last post, we have held meetings in Sutton Coldfield and Newtown, and we have also started to publish your comments online: http://birminghamnewsroom.com/2011/11/budget-views-feedback/.

On 2nd November we held our third public meeting at the United Reformed Church in Sutton Coldfield. Thirty one people, from eleven postcodes across the city, came to give us their views. The following day we were at Newtown Community Centre for another meeting, which was attended by twenty one people from ten different postcodes.

At both meetings, there were people who felt very strongly about the Supporting People programme, and there was concern that reductions in the funding of this preventative service would lead to a greater need for more intensive support in the future. There is a more in-depth consultation about the Supporting People programme going on at the moment- click here to find out more.

As with previous meetings, there was also a lot of concern about further reducing services for children and young people. Some people felt that changes to the Connexions service would lead to more youth unemployment, while others said that reducing other services for young people would cause more crime and antisocial behaviour. Some people also told us how important Early Years intervention is, and that there needed to be more nursery places available in Newtown.

The meeting in Newtown heard from several people who had struggled with the Individual Budgets process, couldn't always buy the services that they wanted to, and didn't think they were getting value for money from support providers. This meeting was chaired by Peter Hay, the Strategic Director for Adults and Communities, who will investigate this and look at ways of improving the service.

I was really pleased that some people said they wanted to get more involved in helping us to deliver services by volunteering. I think that we need to do more to make is possible for volunteers to work with the Council, and this is something we are addressing now in a review of our policy on volunteering.

At both of these meetings, there were people who wanted the Council to refuse to make any savings in its budget at all. Just to reiterate, as a statutory body, we are legally obliged to return a balanced budget at the end of the year. The way to change Government policy is through local Members of Parliament.

We received several comments about the meetings themselves (such as their location, and how they have been advertised). As a result of this we have created a feedback form to capture your thoughts, which will be available at the meetings. We will take these into account (where possible) in the rest of the meetings happening between now and January, and others in future. 

Don't forget you can also have your say by:

Filling in an online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/budget2012 or in any of these other ways:

Email to budget_views@birmingham.gov.uk

Text us by starting a new message with the word 'Budget' followed by a space (if you miss this word your message will be lost)
Add your comment
Send to: 07786 200 403
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Write to Budget Views, Room B119, Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

Tweet us using the hashtag #Brumbudget12

I look forward to hearing and reading your views,

Stephen Hughes,

Chief Executive, Birmingham City Council

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