Shropshire Council’s “Big Conversation” survey now launched – have your say now on the future of council services

Residents across Shropshire are being urged to take part in what is the biggest consultation on Shropshire Council services ever launched.

The Big Conversation survey is the first phase of a five-year conversation the council wants to have with the people of Shropshire to ask them what council services are most important to them.

The Big Conversation comes in light of continuous Government cuts which, in five years’ time, will leave only one quarter of the current funding that pays for over 150 services.

Like all local authorities, the council is faced with the need to make further substantial savings in the coming years due to ongoing Government cuts.

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 the council’s Financial Strategy, is estimated to be £188m. £163m (87%) of the budget will be allocated to core services such as adult’s and children’s social care and 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 local authority currently spend on these services.

This means the council will have to stop delivering some services, and need the public to tell them which services are important to them and what they can do to help and make the remaining resources it has go further.

Claire Wild, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member leading the council’s Big Conversation, said:

“In every home, organisation and business in Shropshire people have to manage a budget, prioritise and make important spending decisions. This is the same for the council, and we really want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to influence these decisions by showing us which services are the most important to you and your community.

“As part of this Big Conversation we want you to tell us your views on the services you value, the services you don’t, and the services you and your community may consider to run yourselves.

“The Big Conversation will continue over the next five years. This initial survey is the first phase of this conversation.

“So please get involved, your views will be used to tell us what services the council will provide in the years ahead.”

If you know someone who does not have access to a computer, you can either print a copy off for them or you can pick a paper copy up from your local library or customer service point. Alternatively you can call us and request one.

For more information about the Big Conversation and to take part