Tuesday, 4 March 2008
Budget Task Group Meeting
Tonight the budget task group met to discuss how the Council budget process can be more open to councillors input and scrutiny. The budget process was reviewed and we made some suggestions with regard to timing, as many of us felt we were given the budget to comment on far too late in the process. We also discussed the way the budget is presented. For many members it is almost like a foreign language, and some suggestions were made regarding a better way of presenting the figures and options.
We discussed the complexxity of local government finance, and how the Council is a unique organisation in that it provides over 100 different services from collecting money to collecting rubbish. Some services are statutory - we provide them by law, while others are discretionary - we choose to provide them as a public service. It was agreed that this distinction should be clearer in the presentation of the budget.
It was a very productive meeting with all the different political parties in Rushmoor working together as they often do in a small group, in this case 5 councillors and one senior council official.