Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Your district. you decide is the message going out to local people, as Thanet District Council launches its budget consultation.

The council needs to save £1.8 million in the 2010/11 budget and needs to decide how best to do this, while ensuring that priority services for local people, such as tackling crime and anti-social behaviour and cleaning the streets do not suffer.

The survey asks people to prioritise a number of services that the council is not legally required to provide, such as events, benefits advice, sports facilities, the Port of Ramsgate, tourism, supporting the voluntary and community sector, parks and open spaces, economic development and regeneration and culture and heritage, like the Winter Gardens and Theatre Royal. Residents are also being asked to list the three most important council services to them.

People are also being asked for their views on how savings could be made, with a number of options suggested, to see how strongly people support each of them. As well as these options, they are also being asked to put forward any ideas that they have.

As a result of last year's budget consultation, more resources were put into waste collection and street cleaning, as local people identified those as their top priorities. Residents believed the best way of making savings was by re-organising staff and sharing services with other councils. As a result, the senior management structure has been reduced and a staff vacancy freeze imposed, with restrictions on the use of agency staff and consultants and reduced overtime payments.

Work is also underway to share services with Canterbury, Dover and Shepway councils, which could include putting services such as finance, IT and procurement into a shared services vehicle operated by the four councils. This has already been accomplished for human resources. It is expected that doing this could produce savings of up to £3 million over the next five years.

Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Sue McGonigal, said: "We are facing a tough time in local government, with all councils needing to save money and that means tough decisions. Local people are the ones who pay Council Tax and who receive the services we provide, so it's only right that they should give their views on which services matter most to them and how they believe we should make savings. As the name of the consultation says, it's your district, it's for you to decide and we hope as many residents as possible will take the opportunity to have their say and help decide our priorities."

The consultation runs until Friday 15 January 2010 and survey questionnaires can be found online at the council website at, or you can pick up a questionnaire from Thanet's Gateway Plus or local libraries. You can also get a copy by calling 01843 577120 or e-mailing

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