The Council has started a public consultation into its 2021/22 Budget – with residents urged to have their say in an initial phase up until early December, focusing on key issues such as investment priorities and efficiency savings.
The Council’s annual Budget consultation is a comprehensive and invaluable process, involving a large number of residents and key stakeholders. Each year, the views captured help to inform senior management and Cabinet Members in setting the Budget for the following financial year.
The 2021/22 consultation will take place in two phases – the first this autumn will collect views on investment priorities, Council Tax and efficiency savings -enabling the feedback to be used while developing a draft Budget strategy.
Earlier this month, Cabinet Members supported a ‘digital by default’ approach to this year’s consultation as face-to-face engagement is restricted due to the Coronavirus pandemic. They also agreed that important opportunities to take part will also be provided for those residents without access to the internet.
Phase one has now started and will close on Monday, December 7 – take part on the homepage here: www.rctcbc.gov.uk/CurrentConsultations.
Residents can have their say through a number of ways both online and offline – including via email, letter (Freepost), telephone, social media polls and a survey. An Easy Read version of the consultation is also available, while residents can call 01443 425014 to provide their views over the phone or to arrange to receive paper version of the consultation information/survey.
Residents can also take part by attending one of three Virtual Engagement Events via Zoom – taking place on November 18 (2pm-3pm), November 25 (7pm-8pm) and December 1 (9.30am-10.30am). Those interested must email the Council, with all the relevant information included on the link above.
Due to the pandemic, these online engagement events have replaced the face-to-face community roadshow events – and participants will still be able to speak directly with Senior Officers and Cabinet Members as in previous years.
Online video sessions will also take place with targeted groups – including the Older Persons Advisory Group, Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Youth Forums and local schools, as well as important work with the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee, the School Budget Forum and the Community Liaison Committee.
Councillor Maureen Webber, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Council Business, said: “Residents can now have their say in the first phase of the Council’s consultation process for the 2021/22 Budget. While this year’s exercise will be digitally-led due to the Coronavirus pandemic, residents without internet access can still take part via letter, paper copies of the online survey and a dedicated telephone number.
“The feedback we gain from the consultation is invaluable in formulating a draft Budget strategy for 2021/22, and in this initial phase we would like residents’ views on key issues such as Council Tax levels, the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, schools’ resources, Fees and Charges, priority areas for investment, and efficiencies – through which the Council has delivered more than £6m in savings in each of the last three years.
“There will be a second opportunity for residents to have their say in the New Year, focusing on the draft Budget strategy itself. In previous years we have managed to reach a large number of people across this consultation, with more than 4,000 people engaging last year. While this year is different due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the ‘digital by default’ approach was effective in a recent consultation into the Dog Fouling PSPO – and is being used in ongoing exercises for the Alcohol PSPO and Cynon Gateway North highway scheme.
“I would urge interested residents to have their say and help us shape the 2021/22 Budget, before the first phase of consultation ends on December 7.”