New Leader cuts Outlook publication as Council seeks efficiencies and better engagement with the public.
As part of efficiency saving measures necessary to address significant cuts to funding, the Council is to review how it meets its statutory obligations to communicate with residents and will cease production of the Outlook publication.
‘Outlook’ was introduced by the Council in 2004 as a quarterly publication replacing the monthly residents communication ‘Rapidly Changing Times’.
This year changes to its frequency and format reduced the cost of the publication from £60k to £30k.
New Leader of the Council, Cllr Andrew Morgan, has confirmed today that the summer copy, recently distributed, would be the last edition of ‘Outlook’.
County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of the Council said: “All areas of expenditure are being reviewed as the Council works to address an estimated £30m shortfall in our funding for the next financial year as a result of UK Government spending cuts.
“I have over the last month instructed Officers to seek alternative ways to meet our statutory obligation to communicate with residents.
“Outlook has served an important purpose over the last 10 years, but as we seek to make savings right across the board, we must review how we communicate with residents.
“The Internet and Social Media provide many new opportunities for us to engage in a different format with our communities and will allow us to save around thirty thousand pounds.
“It is important to recognise that decisions such as this one to cut Outlook will not fix the budget gap we face.
“Significant and inevitably difficult services changes are unfortunately the only real answer to addressing a potential £70m budget gap over the next three years.
“Cabinet has always made clear that just because something is not on the list now does not mean it will not be considered in the future.
“Every area is being scrutinised to achieve savings and protect frontline services as best we can.
“This decision demonstrates how every area of expenditure is under review, and if there are new opportunities to achieve the same objective while saving money, no matter what the value, they will be given serious consideration and if practical, implemented.
“We do have to meet a number of statutory obligations in respect of publicising our Improvement Plan, Member Remuneration and Statutory Notices. We will now consider other cost effective options to publicise and communicate this information.
“Alongside this decision, the Council will shortly announce the new ways in which we intend to engage the public around the tough decisions we will be forced to make as a result of UK Government cuts, in addition to the survey which went live this week.
“This is part of a new approach by the Council to engage more effectively and constructively with the public we represent.”
How the Council intends to use Social Media moving forward and how the new leadership intends to engage more effectively with residents will be announced in the coming weeks.