Service Reviews Explained
Service Reviews Explained
What are they and what do they mean for me, my family and my friends?
What’s going on?
When people mention the Service Reviews they are talking about the fact that Birmingham City Council is going through all of the things it does to try and see what could be changed to make things cost less.
Why is this happening?
If you ever read a newspaper, watch TV, listen to the radio or even walk down the street you will probably have heard that the British economy is in a pretty bad way…
The population is growing, so there are more people, particularly elderly people and children, who need services from the government.
At the same time, the amount of money available to the government is becoming less and less as it tries to pay back money it has borrowed from other countries in the past
What does this mean for Birmingham?
One of the ways the government has chosen to try and solve this difficult situation is by reducing the amount of money they give to local authorities, such as Birmingham City Council.
At the moment Birmingham City Council is responsible for a wide range of services. They range from collecting the bins, to organising the German Christmas Market.
The council are made to do some of these things by the law, but there are others which the council has chosen to provide.
To give you an example, the council has to provide Early Years places to all of the children in the city, but the Outdoor Learning Service, which many of those children could benefit from, is something extra which the people who work for the council and the local councillors have decided themselves is important enough to spend money on.
But isn’t the Government always trying to save money?
What makes this time any different?
In the past the council has been able to save money by making things run more smoothly, changing who they buy things from and reducing the number of people working in their offices.
After all this there still isn’t enough money.
In fact, the cuts which are happening now are so dramatic that the amount Birmingham City Council spends has to be cut in half in a period of 7 years.
And what does that mean?!
This means that some services which we have come to expect or even rely on will have to be changed dramatically, or even stopped altogether.
So what happens now?
To try and make choices which are fair and which will cause as little damage as possible to the lives of people in Birmingham, the Council has decided that three things must be at the heart of conversations and decisions:
Protecting the most vulnerable people in our city; this may mean children, people who are disabled, homeless etc. Giving everybody the chance to improve and enjoy their lives, even if they are born into a group which is often left out of society.
Trying to improve the way that people from outside Birmingham view our city. Encouraging people to come here by improving the way we run things and making it easier for businesses to do well so there will be more jobs.
Making sure that the views of local people are heard and considered when decisions are being made. This should make it easier to design services in a way which will meet people’s needs.
What do those things actually mean for people who live here?
The council have used these three priorities to help them think about more specific things they want to make sure happen here in the next few years:
Birmingham City Council wants to:
- Support business and create jobs
- Improve child protection
- Improve transport
- Support children in care or who have special needs
- Provide new homes
- Support troubled families
- Make Birmingham more environmentally friendly
- Improve education
- Reduce energy bills
- Encourage healthy lifestyles
- Use new technology, like ultrafast broadband, to make life in the city easier
- Improve care for older people and give them more independence
- Give people a say in how their services are run
That sounds like quite a lot to get done if there’s not much money…!
YES! WE KNOW!
That’s why we need you, your friends, your family and everyone in Birmingham to help us.
The council are asking local people to speak up for the services which they can’t do without, tell us which ones they could and make suggestions about how things could be done differently.
- Give us any ideas about how we could do things differently?
- Spare any time to volunteer in your community?
- Tell us about community organisations which provide similar services?
- Use your skills to help your community and your city?
Here are a few general ideas for saving money…
- Reducing the amount of money or materials wasted
- Passing a service from the council to a charity or business.
- Joining services together
- Helping people avoid problems so a service won’t be needed as much
- Stopping a service
How do I share my ideas?
There are loads of ways to have your voice heard:
- Go to your local Ward Committee Meeting or contact your local councillor
- Give your views online at www.birminghambeheard.org.uk
- Text the word ‘Budget’, followed by a space to 07786200403
- Write to Service Reviews, Rm 221, Council House, B1 1BB or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find us on Facebook or Google+
- Follow BhamCityCouncil on Twitter
The nature of Birmingham City Council is changing. Please help to make that change a positive one by getting involved in how we live together in our city.
Visit our main Service Review page to find out more.
Thank you so much for reading and we look forward to hearing from you!