Residents play their part in Council's service delivery

The City of Edinburgh Council’s Finance and Resources Convener has thanked the public for participating in the 2017/18 budget engagement process.

Almost 2000 people provided feedback on the budget through a range of channels, including an online survey, a web engagement tool, in writing and face-to-face at public events.
This year, engagement focused on the delivery of programmes and initiatives already agreed in principle. This follows the previous approval of a series of budget commitments covering three years from 2015.
In particular, feedback was sought on ways access to facilities could be increased, how libraries could be better integrated with other Council and partner services and how best to introduce more online resources. Residents were also asked for their views on the funding of winter festivals and leisure services.
Finance Convener, Councillor Alasdair Rankin, said: “Once again we’ve seen a great response to our budget engagement, and I’d like to thank the public for the many insightful ideas and suggestions they have contributed.
“While we have already agreed a series of budget commitments, it’s important that we involve the public when establishing the best ways to deliver savings, as well as improving services across the Council.
“We fully intend to make good use of this feedback when considering various improvement plans and it will strongly influence our Edinburgh 2050 City Vision.”
Budget engagement was supported by a multimedia communications campaign, which included social media, online videos and e-communications alongside more traditional methods like posters, outdoor advertising and media promotion.
Amongst feedback on community and library services, general support was shown for the use of integrated ‘hubs’ to deliver both together, while respondents were broadly in favour of additional voluntary support in libraries, though valued the use of skilled, paid staff.
Respondents also contributed ideas for improving usability and awareness of Council online services, as well as providing views on the potential for including communities and individuals in the provision of sport and leisure activities. As with libraries, individuals expressed positivity towards the benefits of voluntary involvement, though stressed the importance of knowledgeable staff.
In addition, the Council’s Dialogue Page received suggestions on a variety of topics, with the highest rated ideas focusing on street cleansing, road maintenance and cycle infrastructure.
Feedback from budget engagement will now influence improvement plans for each of the city’s Localities as well as the development of the Edinburgh 2050 City Vision and the roll-out of the Council’s ICT Transformation Programme.
The report was considered at the Finance and Resources Committee on Thursday, 19 January, which is available to view in the Council's webcast archive.

Budget engagement: In numbers
In total, there were 1,983 responses. These include:
- 784 individuals completed the online survey
- 101 ideas discussed on the Council’s Dialogue site, resulting in 172 individual comments and 387 ratings
- 66 budget leaflets, 28 emails, 2 telephone calls
- 443 comments received through social media, including 391 comments on Facebook, and 52 direct replies on Twitter 

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