Helping to shape local public services

Posted on: 2 November 2015

Devon County Council has launched two public surveys asking residents what they feel about services that the council provides, and where they think the Council’s priorities should be next year.

The responses will help the council make decisions about the way services are provided in future.

Over the past five years the County Council has had to save £174 million, giving a total current net budget of £500 million to spend on important public services such as adult social care and road maintenance in Devon.

New Government spending targets means that a further £110 million of savings are likely to be needed over the next 4 years with £35 million of this in the coming year 2016/17.

Reflecting on the reductions so far, the Community Survey 2015 asks how easy or difficult it is for people to access council services now, and get information or advice about them.

It also measures how much or how little people are able to help others to access the council’s services, or to help out in their local communities.

The Community Survey 2015 and the Budget Spending Priorities 2016/17 survey, both available from the Have Your Say website ask people what they think the council’s priorities should be for the coming year.

They ask residents to rank on a sliding scale whether they consider a service to be essential or not a priority. Or whether funding for a service should be protected or reduced.

At a time when the Council is inviting communities to be more involved in helping to deliver some local services, such as grass cutting or weed clearing – jobs the Council is now unable to do itself now due to budget cuts – the Council also asks what it could do to encourage residents to come forward.

Councillor Barry Parsons, the Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for engagement said:

“It’s really important that we hear from residents about what they think about the services we provide.

“It’s right to look at the impact that cuts to our funding have had so far on individuals and communities, which is what our Community Survey hopes to gather. And it’s right that we gauge people’s opinion on what the Council’s priorities should now be.

“It’s clear that we are no longer able to do everything that we’ve been able to do in the past because of cuts to our funding, so understanding what people think about their own role in making their communities good places to live and work, is important.

“Their responses to these surveys help us make difficult choices about the services we provide and how those services can be delivered in future.”

2 comments on “Helping to shape local public services

  1. M Phillips says:

    The wholesale replacement of public lighting columns on age criteria is not a sensible use of Council Tax. Many lighting columns installed in the 1970’s and 80’s have been replaced, whilst significant elements of the power system infrastructure supplying them are pre-war and continue to give safe, maintainable and efficient service. Please review DCC criteria.

    • Thanks for your comment, which we’ll pass to the relevant team. If you have chance to take part in the surveys, please do because it will help with our decision making.

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