Have your say on how the council will spend your tax money

You can play a vital part of our democracy, as you will be able to hold the county council to account in how they spend your tax money.

Friday, 4th January 2019, 9:13 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 1:29 pm
You can play a vital part of our democracy, as you will be able to hold the county council to account in how they spend your tax money.

Over the next financial year, is is crucial that the Council gets their expenditure on critical services right, and you can voice your opinions to the people who spend the money.

The budget scrutiny select committee convenes next week to examine the Council's budget in detail, and wants to hear what you have to say.

The three meetings will be webcast, with full programme for the three days, together with background papers, can be found using the following links:

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Jan 8 - https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=667&MId=12317&Ver=4Jan 9 - https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=667&MId=12318&Ver=4Jan 10 - https://democracy.buckscc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=667&MId=12319&Ver=4You can pose questions quickly and easily ahead of the three day scrutiny either by email to [email protected] or via Twitter using the hashtag #BucksBudget.

Following the scrutiny process the committee will produce a report listing recommendations which will be presented to Cabinet on February 11.

Final budget decisions will be made by the full Council at its meeting on February 21.

To view the webcasts, visit https://buckscc.public-i.tv/core/portal/home when they are taking place.

To view the draft budget, please click here.

The main three objectives of the draft budget are:

 Safeguarding the Vulnerable

 Creating Opportunities and Building Self-Reliance

 Keeping Buckinghamshire Thriving and Attractive

The budget draft outlines increased investment in high priority areas - as follows

 Protecting Vulnerable Children – the Children’s Social Care Portfolio has been increased from £65.2m to £75.9m to reflect the current year and forecast demand pressures;

 Supporting Vulnerable Adults and Older People – the Health & Wellbeing Portfolio has been increased from £132.3m to £136.0m to reflect demography pressures (volume, complexity and market pressures). This is after expected savings of £2.5m relating to the Adults Transformation Programme;

 Roads / Highways Infrastructure – some extra funding has been added around growth in highways maintenance (£530k) and in relation to the impact of asset growth (£163k). Furthermore, significant investment in highways has been included within the draft Capital Programme

The cross-party select committee of councillors will question all Cabinet members on their spending plans during three days of hearings from Tuesday 8 to Thursday 10 January. And while they're doing this, Chairman David Watson wants residents to add their questions too.

“I've always been a great champion of transparency and openness, particularly when it comes to spending public money. As a committee you can rest assured we will leave no stone unturned, but what I'd really like to encourage is questions from the public," said David.

"And I can guarantee that they'll all get an answer from the relevant Cabinet Member. Of course, people can also attend if they wish - the meetings are all open to the public."

“Our job as a committee is to ensure the budget is robust and serves the needs of the county and the people," said David. "We'll be diligent and ask the relevant questions to each Cabinet member to make sure we are spending public money prudently.”