Consultation closes 25 November 2019
Exciting yet challenging times ahead for the new Buckinghamshire Council
The major services that our councils provide in Buckinghamshire play a part in all of our lives in some way on a daily basis. Whether that’s through waste and recycling collections, roads and transport, education and learning, health and social care, planning where new housing goes or making use of our many parks, libraries and leisure centres.
As we plan for the new Buckinghamshire Council, which will replace the county and district councils from April next year, it’s important that we take a look at our priorities and focus on the needs of all the people of Buckinghamshire and the future challenges we face as a county.
As one council, there will be many opportunities for us to bring services together better and improve the lives of our residents, businesses and communities.
We continue to face some very big challenges across the county:
- Our population is growing rapidly, which means more young children needing school places and more people needing our services .
- People are living longer, which means more elderly people needing help or care and the type of services that people need from us is getting more complex.
- The number of houses in the county is growing, which means more people who need every day services like waste and recycling collections, as well as the additional pressure on us to provide new roads, schools and other infrastructure to serve these new and growing communities.
- The lack of affordable housing means some people are struggling to afford to own or rent a home privately, which leads to an increase in people needing social housing.
- We are amongst the increasing number of councils who no longer receive any central government funding for day to day services.
As one council, there will be many opportunities to improve services, making it simpler and easier for you to get the services you need. In keeping the new council local, you will also be able to access information and advice about services from places close to where you live across the county.
There is no doubt that having one organisation across the council will reduce costs and duplication, but this will take time. We expect that over the next 4-5 years we will begin to see the fruits of coming together as one organisation, reducing costs by £18m by working smarter together.
But for now, we still have a job to do in balancing the books next year.
Our statutory responsibilities
We have statutory responsibilities – things we that we must legally do, like safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, and providing schools and education. These are our biggest and growing areas of spending.
It is also important to note that the day to day money for running of our schools is not set or controlled by the council; this goes directly to schools from government.
Your council, your services, your views
We are now working to set the priorities and budget for the new Buckinghamshire Council for the next financial year, 2020/21 and beyond. In doing this we will need to make some difficult decisions about the level of spending across the board – making changes in how we provide some services by working smarter together, improving and ensuring a consistent level of service for residents across the whole county . We will also be investing in working closely with the community and local partners to ensure they are involved in decision-making and can influence the direction of the new council through new Community Boards.
We want to hear from you to help shape the new Buckinghamshire Council, tell us what you think we should be focusing on across all the services that you receive.
You can complete the short online survey (open until 25 November) which will take less than 10 minutes. You can also drop into one of the main council offices or our main libraries to take part – these are Amersham, Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Chesham, Hazlemere, High Wycombe, Marlow and Princes Risborough.
We are ready and waiting to hear your views.
Martin Tett and Katrina Wood