Shropshire Council has reported on its website that the initiative has already drawn a huge response from local residents and organisations, with more than 1,000 people taking part in the Big Conversation survey since it launched on 17 November 2015.
The Big Conversation survey is the first phase of a five-year conversation the council wants to have with Shropshire people to ask them which council services are most important to them. The survey, which runs until Monday 4 January 2016, will be followed by further consultations with local people, partners, community organisations and businesses across Shropshire in 2016. Residents are encouraged to set aside time to participate in the survey before it closes.
The above page explains the situation which has prompted the Big Conversation:
By 2020/21 the Government’s £44m revenue support grant – money that is paid to councils each year to help provide services – will end. By the time this grant ends, it is estimated that we will be a further £77m worse off, due to the combination of inflationary increases in costs, particularly in adult social care, and further cuts in Government grants.
The council’s forecast budget for 2020/21, recently published in its Financial Strategy, is estimated to be £188m. £163m (87%) of the budget will be allocated to core services such as adult services, children’s services, safeguarding, domestic waste disposal, concessionary travel and school transport.
This will leave just £25m (13% of the overall budget) of money to spend on the remaining 150 plus services the council currently provides. This is a reduction of 75% from the £100m the council currently spends on these services.
The Big Conversation has been set up to ask residents, businesses and organisations how the council can bridge a £77m funding gap over the course of the next five years.
For more information about the Big Conversation and to take part in the survey, residents are asked to: