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Moray Council publishes summary of latest budget consultation feedback

Moray Council has published the feedback received on its latest budget consultation, in which the public were asked about eight service specific proposals throughout November 2023, with a further survey for parents of children in Early Learning and Childcare.

The second survey of service users was undertaken in the context of the local authority needing to find £15m of savings over the next two years. The first decisions on ways to achieve this were published in October 2023.

The most supported proposal in the latter consultation was the commercialisation of industrial rent, with a reduction in the animal health services achieving the least support from all respondents.

A total of 1,542 people opened the survey and were asked to answer questions on:

  • Household Waste and Recycling Centres: reduction of opening hours, closing one weekday each. Saving = £50,000 a year, now revised to £25,000.
  • Environmental Health: reduction of support for animal health services. Saving = £30,000 a year.
  • Commercial property rent reviews: take a commercialised approach to industrial rent in future (following existing rent review cycles). Saving = £65,000 a year.
  • Communities: reduction in community training budget; reduce capacity for participatory budgeting support. Saving = £90,000 a year.
  • Customer services: reduce size of staff team (two posts currently vacant). Saving = £114,000 a year.
  • Outdoor learning: reduce the service that supports outdoor learning and the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. Saving £115,000 a year, now revised to £58,000 a year.
  • Mobile libraries: retire the mobile library bus alongside development of an alternative service delivery model. Saving = £20,000 a year.

The proposal to reduce the operating hours of Household Waste and Recycling Centres by closing one weekday had some support from 77% of respondents, of which 42% indicated there would limited impact on them.

A reduction in support for animal health services within the Environmental Health team was opposed by 75% of respondents, with 61% saying there would be a severe impact on them. The service will continue to prioritise the demand with health and safety being part of the criteria for doing so.

81% of respondents indicated some support for taking a commercialised approach to industrial rents, with 58% saying there would be limited impact on them.

A reduction to capacity in the Communities team was supported by 62% of respondents, with 43% indicating there would be limited impact on them from the proposals. The most common impact was stated as respondents being ‘less willing to volunteer’ and having ‘less involvement in community roles’.

74% of respondents indicated some support for a reduction in participatory budgeting capacity from the Communities team, with 36% saying there would be limited impact.

A reduction in the size of the Customer Services team received some support from 74% of respondents, with longer waiting times highlighted as the most common impact. Digital exclusion was raised as a concern, although 80% of respondents used online services, the most common reason for not doing to was the preference to talk to someone, which 74% of respondents cited.

Capacity in the outdoor learning team being reduced received some support at 60% with 40% indicating no support. The most common impact indicated was the limited alternative opportunities for children and young people. This proposal has been amended to account for these views, the saving has been reduced and the Duke of Edinburgh scheme remains available to young people across Moray.

Retiring the mobile library bus received some support from 63% of respondents, with 45% indicating limited impact on them and a reduction in social connection and increased travel were cited as the most common impacts. Options for alternative library services delivery are being considered and engagement on this will continue in the new year.

Council Leader, Cllr Kathleen Robertson, said after full council met: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who took time out to respond to our service specific proposals. We very much see this engagement as the start of an ongoing conversation with residents, who we’ll look to assist with shaping service delivery to make sure we’re meeting the future needs of our communities.

“There is an amendment to the proposals we originally shared which takes account of the feedback received. Once we know, and analyse, the budget settlement from the Scottish Government we’ll be in a position to progress the next stage of our financial planning in the new year. Meantime, employees previously consulted will be contacted to update them on the current status of their post.”

The next meeting of Moray Council is due to take place on 24 January 2024, with the budget setting full council due on 28 February 2024.

Contact Information

Moray Council Press Office