Over 1,200 people take part in a facebook chat on Community Services in Highland

Over 1,200 people took part in the second of a series of Highland Council Budget Facebook Chats on Tuesday 3rd November. 

Chair of the Council’s Community Services Committee Councillor Allan Henderson and Director of Community Services William Gilfillan took part in the event which focused on Community Services and ways in which savings could be made.

Community Services delivers many of the Council’s everyday services, with staff in regular contact with the people of the Highlands. The Service delivers a wide range of services including refuse collection, grass cutting, winter maintenance, housing, homelessness, public conveniences, playparks, roads maintenance and many more services which help to make your community a safe and pleasant place to live.

Councillor Henderson said: “We are currently looking at a wide range of proposals and ideas to save money and increase income, whilst protecting the most essential of services as far as possible. The facebook chat was pretty successful and we would have had to visit a lot of village halls to speak to that many people.

“The facebook chat posed some questions on bin collection, car parking charges and whether people would be prepared to do a bit more in their communities to protect frontline services.”

There were a total of more than 600 comments on the event page. These included questions and comments from members of the public and answers from Cllr Henderson and the Mr Gilfillan. 

Participants were asked a series of questions relating to frontline services such as bin collection and car parking.

Participants were asked the question: “Should green bins move to three-weekly collections to save money for other essential services?”

To date, a total of 1,231 people responded. 1,153 people (93.66%) said no to this idea. 71 people (5.77%) said yes and 7 (0.57%) indicated that they weren’t sure.

In response to the feedback regarding green bin collection, participants were given a list of Community Services and were asked what area the Council should look to save money in?

Of the 169 that responded to date, 95 (56.21%) suggested grass cutting, 42 (24.85%) suggested that car park charges should be increased, 13 (7.69%) said public toilets, 12 (7.10%) said playparks, 4 (2.37%) said recycling and 3 (1.78%) said gritting.

173 people to date have responded to the question “The Council needs to find ways of increasing income as well as saving money. Should the council charge for all car parks over 20 spaces?”

 100 (57.80%) said no to this idea. 69 (39.88%) said yes and 4 (2.31%) said they weren’t sure.

Respondents were also asked if they would be willing to do a little more in their community to protect frontline services, such as carrying out grass cutting, gritting and footpath clearing.

Of the 298 people who have responded to date, 163 (54.70%) said that they wouldn’t, 43 (14.43%) said they would and 92 (30.87%) said that they would need more information.

Cllr Henderson concluded: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in the chat.  It was very useful and very interesting to see the terrific response.”

The facebook event page can be viewed via this link.

Nearly 10,000 people like the Council’s facebook page. The vast majority of these people live in the Highlands, with around a quarter living in the Inverness area. There is a wide spectrum of ages, with 74% of people aged between 25 and 54. 10% are over 55’s and 16% under 25’s.

Further budget facebook chats will be held over the coming weeks. The next chat will focus on Care and Learning on Wednesday 11 November.

5 Nov 2015
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