Your Say, Our Future
The last few years have brought a period of great change for the town and the Council. There has been significant reduction in the funding that the Council receives from central government and we have had to make some tough decisions about the services we deliver and how we deliver them. This has led us to a critical point in the history of the town. We need to be clear about the future direction of our town and our organisation. We remain ambitious for the future but we need to think differently about how we achieve this.
Over the summer we will be carrying out an exercise to engage with residents, staff, and others. This is not intended to be a budget consultation, it is a broader discussion which we are going to call “Your Say, Our Future”, this is so we can reflect and capture future ambitions whilst being mindful of the financial challenges and complex problems that we face. Your Say, Our Future will focus on ensuring that people can understand and contribute to a dialogue about:
• the complex problems we face as a town and a Council;
• what the Council does and why;
• how the Council is funded, how that has changed over the last few years and how it will continue to change;
• how much it costs the Council to do certain things and how the community and council can work to solve problems, reduce costs and shape the future of our town.
Within this context we will be stimulating a town-wide conversation about the kind of place we want Hartlepool to be and how we can work together to achieve our shared ambitions for the town and our neighbourhoods.
There are a range of things that we will be doing over the course of the summer in order to gather views, improve understanding of the challenges we face and the difficult decisions we will need to make and to change behaviour in order to reduce service demand.
We have set up a dedicated section on the Council’s website – www.hartlepool.gov.uk/your-say-our-future - which holds a range of information about this exercise including videos explaining what the Council faces and how we currently spend our budget, some key messages and details of how to get involved. We will also be promoting this exercise through social media and other channels including the Hartlepool Mail.
I will be holding a series of public roundtable events across the town. These will be held at various times and venues to enable as many people as possible to come along and get involved. The public events are scheduled as follows:
• 5pm on Tuesday 19th July at Belle Vue Youth & Community Centre
• 10am on Thursday 21st July at West View Community Centre
• 10am on Saturday 30th July at Owton Manor Community Centre
• 2pm on Tuesday 9th August in the Council Chamber
• 7pm on Thursday 11th August in the Borough Hall
If you would like to attend one of these roundtables then please book a place by calling 01429 523002 / 523003 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
An online survey is available for people to complete at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HBC16-your-say-our-future
Finally, we have also created a dedicated email address as another route for people to send in their comments and suggestions: email@example.com
I am keen to make sure that as part of the budget process and more broadly as part of capturing a spirit of ambition for the town that Your Say, Our Future is a success and I am sure that with your involvement we can make it so.