People across Tameside are being asked for their views on what local spending priorities should be.
Tameside Strategic Commission - which comprises Tameside Council and NHS Tameside & Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group - is inviting residents and those who use their services to take part in a consultation.
It comes as they begin to develop their budget for the 2021/22 financial year.
The council has revealed that the Strategic Commission spent £974 million on vital services.
For services delivered by the council, around 17 per cent of the budget comes from council tax but the rest comes directly from a variety of government sources.
- £92 million on children’s services, including social care, looked after children, fostering and adoption, Early Help for families and children’s centres.
- £87 million on adult social care such as residential and nursing care as well as the Community Response Service, which allows elderly and vulnerable residents to live in comfort and dignity in their own home.
- £51 million on maintenance of road and public spaces, bin collections, community safety, libraries, customer services and environmental health.
- £43 million to cover the cost of free prescriptions.
- £40 million for mental health support services as well as other mental health projects and providers.
- £16 million on population health to support residents to take control of their own health and wellbeing.
The council say the coronavirus pandemic has reduced its income and increased demand for its services.
It's estimated that a further £60 million in savings will be needed in 2021, the authority added, as it is legally required to deliver a balanced budget.
A 'Budget Conversation' has now been launched, with local residents and service users encouraged to get involved and give their views by visiting www.tameside.gov.uk/budgetconversation2021-22.
Virtual sessions to gather residents' views have also been arranged, which will take place on:
- Wednesday 18 November 2020, 9am – 10.30am
- Wednesday 25 November 2020, 6pm – 7.30pm
- Tuesday 8 December 2020, 2pm – 3.30pm
Residents may register to attend one of the sessions using the quick form at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BudgetConversationEngagementSessionPreference
The council say the consultation will run until 6 January 2021, after which all responses will be analysed and incorporated into the decision-making processes for the new Budget, which is due to be released in February 2021.
Councillor Oliver Ryan, Executive Member for Finance and Growth, said: “The past year has been the most challenging in living memory, and Tameside Council and Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group have not been immune. Following a decade of austerity, the coronavirus pandemic has also reduced many of our income streams and increased the demand for services. It is clear that action is needed.
“That makes it even more important that we be clear with our residents, communities and businesses about the challenges we face, and listen to their views to make sure that any decisions are made with them, and never to them. The findings from this Budget Conversation will directly feed into the development of the Council and CCGs joint budget for 2021/22, working together to lay strong foundations to protect our vital services and build back better.”