Budget consultation "is flawed"

August 10, 2010 6:00 PM
Cllr David Kendall

Cllr David Kendall

Cllr David Kendall and the Liberal Democrat group were unable to support the budget consultation being run by Conservative controlled Brentwood Borough Council saying it was "flawed" during a heated meeting of the Policy Board last week.

This was because:

  • The consultation forms had not been discussed by members of the cross party Public Information Panel (PIP) before being produced.
  • There had been no discussions with members of the opposition regarding the wording of the consultation leaflet or the structure of the consultation process before it had started.
  • Residents have had to apply for a consultation form or go online to get one, disenfranchising many elderly residents.
  • The consultation forms did not give the public any financial information on how much was currently being spent on specific Council services..
  • No formal communication or social media plan was put before members regarding the project.
  • Little regard was given to weighting the survey to ensure that all sectors of the community and all parts of Brentwood were represented correctly.
  • The face to face open surgeries only featured the Leader and Deputy Leader with no voice being given to the Opposition.

Cllr Kendall said:

"We fully support residents being consulted on the tough financial choices facing Brentwood Borough Council but we have serious concerns about how the Conservatives are running this particular consultation process.

"This consultation has been bulldozed through at speed without any prior discussion with opposition members and this has led to many important points being missed.

"We believe residents should have been given clear financial information on how much is currently being spent on different council services so that they can make an informed decision on future spending priorities.

"Whilst the Leader may keep talking about openness and transparency, this consultation process shows that there is still a long way to go towards turning the words into reality".