Have your say on council spending

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council

A new survey launched by West Sussex County Council is asking residents’ their views on managing council finances and where they think resources should be focused.

Called ‘Every Pound Counts’, the survey asks residents and businesses for their opinions on how public money is used, including a section where people have the chance to be ‘chancellor for the day’ by allocating points – representing sums of money – to different areas.

The council has come under scrutiny in the past year for some of its decisions to adult social care affecting disabled and elderly people. This could be the tie they can have their say.

Leader of the county council Louise Goldsmith said: “Some people may well be surprised to see the range of services provided by the county council, from social care to highways, and waste management to safeguarding.”

In fact it deals with adoption, crime partnerships, schools, libraries, care for the elderly and disabled, pollution, licensing, travellers, street lighting and trading standards, to name just a few.

The county council wants to know how much should be spent on each of these services and which should be given priority over others.

Mrs Goldsmith continued: “It’s no secret that we are in the middle of very difficult financial times. The county council is part-way through a three-year programme to save £79million.

“We need to live within our means as a local authority and provide value for money for our residents and businesses.

“Equally, we need to make sure we focus our limited resources on the things that matter most to residents.

“This consultation is a chance for people to show us where they would like the council’s resources focussed, and also where they would like savings to be made.”

The results of the survey last year showed that residents wanted roads maintenance as a priority.

The county council has given additional funding and recently announced a £3million countywide road maintenance programme for road surface dressing.

Budget management and being transparent and accountable were also highlighted.

The ‘Performance Framework 2011 – 2014’ has a commitment to produce and publish data for residents to hold the county council to account, and more data is openly available on the County Council’s website.

Details of the survey can be found at Libraries and Help Points or by visiting the county council website www.westsussex.gov.uk where people can either fill in the survey online or download a copy to print out.

People can also request a paper copy of the survey by calling the county council on 01243 777100.

The deadline for responses in Sunday September 9 2012.