Swansea Council leader David Phillips writes for the South Wales Evening Post
By South Wales Evening Post | Posted: January 30, 2014
MY colleagues and I were elected to run Swansea Council in 2012, on a pledge that “community engagement … empowering local communities, enabling their voices to be heard”, would be at the heart of what we did.
And that is what we put into practise with the Sustainable Swansea — fit for the future consultation — asking residents, staff, businesses, the voluntary sector and partner organisations what you wanted, and then listening to and considering your answers.
If we scroll back to September last year, you’ll remember that we were – and still are — looking at having to make savings of £26-plus million this year and a total of £45m over the next couple of years.
For the first time since devolution, councils like ours are staring at a real-terms reduction in funding. It is a huge challenge. It means we have to think differently, do things differently and do different things.
Unlike some councils we saw this challenge as an opportunity. We shared with you our ideas about what the future shape of services might be. Some people — not all — doubted whether it was an open and honest effort to listen.
But it was and your feedback has influenced the development of our budget to help us achieve the smarter, leaner and more efficient Council people wanted to see in the future. More…