Was at the first budget public consultation meeting last night at St Bride's. Public meeting but attendance was by invite only ! :-/ Members of the public (40) were probably outnumbered by Councillors and Council Officials. The event was meant to be "led" by senior Administration (LibDem/SNP) Cllrs but this actually meant a brief intro by the Convenor of Finance who promptly left the stage to a solitary official and volunteer facilitator ! Very quickly became apparent that the set questions to be asked had been simplified to the point of being slightly patronising. The intelligence of the audience had clearly been underestimated and the ensuing contributions would appear to confirm this. Subsequent votes (by electronic keypad) went directly against current Council proposals. Indeed, many chose not to vote and voiced their view that the exercise was loaded.
There are further severe cuts on the way although the initial Phase 1 "back office" / "management delayering" proposals can be read in this report which will be debated at today's full Council meeing. We (the Labour Group) intend moving that the majority of the savings are achievable with minimal impact on services but that a commitment should be given not to use compulsory redundancy. I'll try to post the outcome later today.