This article originally appeared on The Consultation Institute’s website and has been posted here with permission.

Powys County Council’s budget consultation exercise, conducted using Delib’s Simulator tool towards the end of last year, has been praised for utilising residents’ feedback. Following analysis, the Cabinet has recently approved spending plans of nearly £270m, which includes a proposal to increase council tax by 5% in line with resident feedback.

The original spending plans have also been revised to take into account residents’ views about the need for sustained road maintenance. An additional £0.5m has been allocated to this budget. Education and Children’s Services were also areas where residents felt there was a need for more funding rather than less, and this has been taken into account.

Every local authority is facing challenging decisions around how best to spend the money allocated to them via Westminster or the Welsh Government.

For Powys County Council, the use of a digital engagement Simulator has allowed for genuine resident input which has been given due regard.
The final budget package will be considered by the Full Council on 20 February.

How does it work?

The Simulator works by setting a savings target and asking residents to ideally reduce the current spend across several service areas to meet said target. However, there are options to leave the current budget as is, and also increase spending. People can choose to submit their own budget at any point in time and don’t have to meet the savings target given. The results have provided Powys Cabinet with interesting insights about where and what services residents value and would prioritise over others.

This article was written by Sue Ling, Corporate Consultation Officer, Powys County Council.

Powys’ Simulator has now closed, but you can view the page in English or Welsh.

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