The consultation submission was done online, with the following comments included:
Comments - General
I fully endorse the responses given on behalf of RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats to this consultation and wish to highlight a few aspects and add a number of comments.
There are a significant number of questions throughout the questionnaire asking whether the respondee is a user of each of the affected services. This is not relevant, all residents are entitled to have an opinion on how taxpayers' money should be spent, and you do not have to be a user of a service to appreciate its worth or to have an appreciation of fairness and equality.
The questions are worded badly and many of those in section 1 are impossible to answer without a great deal of extra information, information which Councillors have not been privy to let alone members of the public. How can people be expected to comment on whether the proposed changes will be sustainable or lead to a reasonable level of service?
With reference to the proposed cuts in nursery education the idea is ludicrous. It is ill conceived and goes against many of the Council's own stated principles of giving children the best start in life and helping children out of poverty.
Research has shown that the first 5 years of a child's life is when they soak up most information. Without pushing them too much we need to ensure we give them every opportunity to learn at this age. We also have a responsibility to all those children who are living in comparative deprivation and poverty and who lose out on extra help at home for a variety of reasons.
The proposal to start this in April 2014 is nonsensical and I do not believe even the Cabinet and the officers who put the report together believe that is achievable. Where is the extra child care coming from?
The report talks of schools providing wrap around care, but there are several flaws in this suggestion.
Not all schools may want the hassle of setting it up
There are questions around the number of hours that would be provided which means the service would be subject to a range of CSSIW restrictions.
It would provide child care but not education.
What about those who could not afford to pay, they would lose out in relation to others.
It would not address the issue of providing equitable provision across the County
Full time education for under 5s may not be a statutory obligation, but it is a traditional provision in RCT and it should be amongst the last thing this Council considers cutting back on, not the first.
Comments - Meals on Wheels.
Rationalisation of the kitchens would seem to be a sensible move. I share the concern stated in the RCT Welsh Lib Dem response that there should be an assessment of need amongst users of the service to ensure they will be able to cope at weekends and appropriate measures put in place to help those who cannot.
Comments - Libraries
I am glad to see the report talked of greater use of mobile libraries. I would also like to see efforts made to ensure some of the facilities currently provided eg internet access, moved to other locations in the vicinity. As a Council we should be looking at providing services differently.
Comments - Youth provision
As a secondary school governor I am well aware of the benefits that the E3 provision in particular has brought. It is a service that is well used, and the activities offered can often we used as a hook to get pupils to stay for homework clubs that they would otherwise have little or no interest in.
The removal of transport will effectively put an end to the scheme. Secondary schools by their very nature serve pupils from a catchment area of several miles. Many of the pupils will be unable to get home out of normal school time if the transport linked to E3 is withdrawn.
Again it looks as if easy targets have been chosen to be cut with little thought of the knock on effects.
Comments - Day Centres
Much as I would like to see all service provision maintained it is not economically viable for any Local Authority to be all things to all people.
Whilst the day centre provision is much appreciated by those who use it, the numbers in many cases are far too small to justify the amount of subsidy involved.
Additional Comments - other services and savings
As stated earlier I fully endorse the responses given on behalf of RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats to this consultation including the comments with regard to other areas of potential savings.
We have to look at delivering services differently in ways that are value for money whilst still maintain a good level of provision.
There have been comments from some Councillors that the savings have to come entirely from the non-statutory budget. This is of course untrue. As long as the Council meets its statutory obligations then there is nothing to say they cannot look at providing things differently and more cost effectively in those areas too.
Follow the example that our schools have to set with regard to effictncy savings - stop sending out single sheets of paper in large A4 envelopes, stop sending out reams of appendices to council reports when we are all issued with lap tops.
Cut the post of Mayor / Deputy and the trappings that go with it - the council cars, the chauffeurs.
Don't pay out unnecessary compensatory payments on top of redundancy payments.
Cut more managers
Put some Council services out to private / community control eg day nurseries. Why do the Council need to run them, and why do they need so many back room staff to service them?
Cut the number of Scrutiny committees and therefore the number of extra responsibility allowances.
A Labour Councillor has been telling members of the public that leisure centres will be closed and/or privatised in the next phase of 'cuts.' Why hasn't this been brought out first? If the services can still be provided adequately then it is well worth looking at.
Cllr Mike Powell, Trallwn