Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr Councils in collaboration with South Wales Police, Cwm Taf Health Board, Voluntary Action in Merthyr and Interlink RCT have set up a new 'hub' which they say will allow residents in those Council areas to put forward their views on public services.
Residents will be able to comment on services via a 'one-stop-shop website' which will host a full range of consultations and feedback from all the partner agencies. It is being funded via a grant from the Welsh Government's European Social Fund as part of the consultation and engagement project.
The press release says that "the consultation and engagement hub will allow residents to gain immediate, up-to-date, 24/7 access to share their views and ensure that they help to shape the services that are delivered locally."
However, RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats have reservations that this will have any practical benefits at all. Campaign manager Karen Roberts says
"Many residents will no doubt share our scepticism that this will be anything other than a further waste of money creating yet more office based roles instead of actually providing front line services.
"Consultation is welcome, but it becomes meaningless when nobody takes any notice of the results. Just look at the record in RCT. The Council have been told time and time again that car parking charges are damaging our town centres yet they do nothing. They were told that a new town centre for Talbot Green would damage existing town centres yet they voted it through.
"They were told in no uncertain terms that people do not want the paddling pool in Ynysangharad park to go but they ignored the thousands of people who told them that. Their budget consultation is laughable, basically asking such questions as 'do you think we should spend money on education / social care.'
"The Health Board, in conjunction with others across South Wales, consulted on changes to hospital services. The result has yet to be made public, but as can be seen form the Health Minister's statement this week regarding West Wales hospitals, public opinion seems not to count for a great deal."
As stated on the RCT Council website the scheme will be launched at two events
Tuesday 1st October, Llantrisant Leisure Centre between 4pm and 7pm
Wednesday 2nd October, The Orbit Centre, Merthyr Tydfil between 4pm and 7pm.
Residents who want to get involved are asked to call 01443 424136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a slot.