WE ARE rapidly approaching the end of the second stage of the What Really Matters consultation, which closes on Thursday January 31.
The consultation has seen Wirral Council give residents, businesses, voluntary organisations, our partners and our employees the opportunity to really shape the direction the council will take, and how we will make the necessary savings from our budget.
To try to reach as many people and organisations as possible, we’ve visited supermarkets, cinemas and bingo halls and held meetings with local voluntary groups and organisations such as tenants and residents associations. We’ve made copies of the consultation available in every council building from children’s centres and schools to libraries and public offices like the Town Hall. And of course, we’ve embraced technology, such as Facebook, our website and Twitter to try to reach those people who prefer to interact with the council online.
The response has been phenomenal, clearly marking the What Really Matters consultation as the biggest and most engaging that Wirral council has ever undertaken.
Previously in the Wirral News, I have talked about plans for the future of services we provide for children, adults and families, and also on the topic of regeneration and environment.
This week I would like to update you on what options the council is putting forward in terms of how we operate ourselves.
I have made it clear from the start that as a council we should spend less on ourselves to offset the impact on services to residents; particularly our poorest and most vulnerable.
We have already made some progress by making the decision to reduce senior and middle management costs by a third. We will also be cutting the amount of money we spend on our buildings, back office staff, and agency staff and consultants by £500,000.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that while some council services are very visible to local people, such as waste collection, there are others behind the scenes, for example processing council tax and benefit payments, which are equally important in ensuring we meet your expectations.
As we know, there are going to be no easy decisions but the savings will have to be made.
Remember, there is still time to have your say by picking up a form from any council library or One Stop Shop, or online at www.wirral.gov.uk/whatreallymatters