What matters where you live?
People who live in Aberdeenshire are being asked to tell the council which services matter most to them.
The authority has launched a budget engagement survey. This year the focus is on which council-delivered services matter most.
People who take part in the survey will be asked just a few questions and will be asked to rank a list of council services based on what matters most to them now. They will then be asked to do that same process but thinking what might matter in future.
They will also, among the short number of questions, be asked which services they might like to be more involved with and have a greater say on.
The results of the survey will be shared with councillors as they prepare budgets for 2024/25.
Here is just a flavour of the current budget position:
To help residents better break that down, the graphic below has been created to show current spend as a percentage of £100.
The survey will be live until 17 November 2023, with the views of a range of groups and individuals across Aberdeenshire being sought. There are opportunities to complete it online via the link below, or in person by asking staff in one of our libraries to print off a paper copy of the form.
The position is one of a growing population, rising inflation and cost of living crisis which all impact the council’s ability to balance the budget. There are difficult choices to make and the views of people on their priorities is what matters.
Council Leader Cllr Gillian Owen said: “We are listening. In this financial year we have a budget of £711million, which is a big number, but in reality we need more than that to keep delivering services to around 262,000 people every day. Our population is growing and ageing, which means services cost us more. We are impacted by rising inflation and the cost of living crisis with more people requiring our help, and our costs are growing.
“The world is changing around us and, as a modern council, we must change too. Our services are valued by residents and we will continue to support our communities in the best way possible. But change is inevitable. Our focus is on changing the way we deliver services, so we can continue to maintain the high standards you expect of us.”
Deputy Leader Cllr Anne Stirling added: “The more people who tell us what matters in their community, the more we can reliably base our budget for next year on the things that are really important to residents. This real data will help us confidently work towards the things that make a difference. I am also looking forward to hearing suggestions about ways in which we can work together with communities, be that through participatory budgeting or other mechanisms, so that communities and the council can develop a sustainable partnership.” The engagement link is here https://engage.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/budget-consultation-2024