Your Voice, Your Council, Your Future – engagement continues
Last week’s Resources Committee noted the positive movement in the Council’s revenue budget from a projected year end overspend in quarter one of £5m down to £2.2 in quarter two. This has been assisted by concerted effort across services and enhanced control of vacancies and all expenditure.
The Highland Council’s month of public engagement activity is well underway with public and staff engagements across the Highlands.
Hundreds of people have watched the budget video, and have completed an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/YourvoiceYourCouncil and have attempted the Budget Challenge, an online budget simulator, to see for themselves how they would make choices to balance the budget.
Members of the budget team and the Chief Executive have been meeting staff, groups and communities across the Highlands during November.
Budget Leader, Councillor Alister Mackinnon thanks those for taking part so far and calls for everyone to get involved and make their views known. He said: “It is vital that we understand what is important to communities to help us make the right decisions as we plan ahead for the next three years.
“We are working with staff to identify all opportunities for efficiencies. Income generation is also a fundamental part of our strategy to protect essential services. Our focus will be on directing our reducing resources to those areas which will deliver the best outcomes and provide value for money. This is Your Council and Your future.”
Chief Executive Donna Manson said: “The progress on our budget position is very positive, however there is a considerable amount of work still required, and the Council faces a number of risks in the coming months from pay awards, winter conditions, and out of authority placements. The Council’s Executive Leadership Team remains committed to further reduce the forecast overspend to ensure a balanced budget is delivered by year end and no draw down from reserves is required.”
She added: “I have enjoyed being out meeting communities and staff across the Highlands and look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming days and weeks. Your feedback is essential to the future shape and sustainability of Highland Council, so please continue to engage with us as we are listening and value your ideas.”
The Council also held facebook chats on income generation and education which received many responses and some very positive suggestions.
You can get more information and find out how to complete the survey or take the budget challenge at: www.highland.gov.uk/yourvoice
Themes emerging from the engagement activity will be reported to Council in December.