Cabinet Members have agreed a two-phase consultation on the Council’s 2022/23 Budget – with face-to-face community events returning this year to complement a digital approach via the new Let’s Talk website.
A report to Cabinet on Monday, October 18, recommended that Members agreed an online approach to the consultation, while face-to-face events can be re-introduced under the eased Coronavirus restrictions of Alert Level Zero.
The Council’s Budget consultation is an annual process which, in previous years, has involved a large number of residents and key stakeholders. It provides senior Officers and the Cabinet with an invaluable range of views on Council services – which helps inform the budget-setting for the year ahead.
Due to the pandemic, the Council adopted a ‘digital by default’ approach to engaging residents last year in order to ensure social distancing. However, more than 1,000 people were still able to take part in the consultation.
Now agreed by Cabinet, the 2022/23 Budget consultation will continue to focus on a digital approach, using the Council’s new Let’s Talk Engagement platform that has been successfully introduced for the ongoing Climate Change Conversation. Importantly, there will also be opportunities for people to take part in traditional ways, for those with limited or no Internet access.
Phase one will run for six weeks this autumn – starting on Monday, October 25. It will focus on investment priorities, Council Tax levels and efficiency savings. A dedicated consultation page will go live on the Let’s Talk website on Monday, which will be promoted by the Council including on social media.
Phase two will take place in the New Year, and will ask residents for their views on the Budget strategy, drafted following phase one.
The Council will also engage with key groups such as the Older Persons Advisory Group, Rhonda Cynon Taf’s Youth Forums, schools and colleges, the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee, the Community Liaison Committee, the Disability Forum and Armed Forces/Veterans groups.
Councillor Maureen Webber, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Council Business, said: “Cabinet has now agreed details of the Council’s approach to the upcoming 2022/23 Budget consultation, which aims to continue our excellent track record of reaching as many people as possible – ensuring that all residents and service users have every opportunity to have their say and provide their feedback.
“The Let’s Talk online platform has already proven to be a user-friendly and interactive form of engagement by hosting our Climate Change conversation. For the Budget consultation, it will collate key information, documents, videos and surveys, with each stage of the consultation also promoted through the Council’s social media. However, while this digital approach continues, there will be important opportunities for those without Internet access to take part.
“I’m delighted that we are able to re-introduce face-to-face community events, where residents can speak to senior Officers and Cabinet Members directly. This has proven a key component of our engagement process in the past, and we are now able to meet people once again due to Coronavirus restrictions easing. Other traditional engagement methods will also be used, including telephone, paper surveys, postal responses and Easy Read documents.
“Cabinet’s decision on Monday will ensure that the Council’s comprehensive approach to engaging with residents will continue with its 2022/23 Budget consultation, and I’d urge residents to take the opportunity to have their say.”
Posted on 22/10/2021