Council prepares for 'biggest ever' public consultation

THE biggest public consultation in Darlington Borough Council’s history is set to take place this summer to determine where the axe will fall on public services and facilities.

As the council looks to cut £14m from its budget over the next four years, on top of £20m of savings already made, the authority will turn to its residents to give their views on what services they want to see saved and what must go.

Council leader Bill Dixon has urged people to put cynicism to one side and take part in the consultation process planned for the coming months, which he described as one of the biggest ever undertaken by a local authority.

In a report prepared for the council’s cabinet, officers warn that efficiency savings, which the authority has relied on so far, are not inexhaustible and the council must now take stock of what it can afford to provide.

Ahead of the consultation the council will identify the minimum level of service that the council must legally provide, before identifying which other services they can afford to provide.

The consultation itself will take place through four Budget Advisory Panels, each made up of 11 councillors that will meet up to three times between May and July.

Each panel will focus on two or three areas of council provision, such as children’s services and highways, to determine what part of each service can be cut, what must stay and what could be saved.

The council has pledged that each meeting will be open to the public and held in the evening to allow as many people as possible to contribute and debate.

Coun Dixon said: “We don’t think any council has ever carried out consultation as wide-ranging as this.

“In the past cuts have focused on a particular service or facility so we knew who speak to, but these cuts will affect everyone, whatever decisions are made.

“We desperately need to ensure that as many people join in as possible. I know there will be a degree of cynicism but it’s vitally important – this will shape the future of the borough for the next ten to 15 years.

“It’s vital that people play a role now rather than complaining in years to come.”

Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:04pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

"Council leader Bill Dixon has urged people to put cynicism to one side"

Difficult

There is still plenty of scope to save very large amounts of money without compromising any services but there is no suggestion that this is on the agenda

By restricting the discussion as to what services are to remain and which are to go the implication is that wasteful and badly organised ways of working will continue.

If they can't do their job they should resign and make way for someone who can bring about change in attitudes and give better value to the hard pressed ratepayer
"Council leader Bill Dixon has urged people to put cynicism to one side" Difficult There is still plenty of scope to save very large amounts of money without compromising any services but there is no suggestion that this is on the agenda By restricting the discussion as to what services are to remain and which are to go the implication is that wasteful and badly organised ways of working will continue. If they can't do their job they should resign and make way for someone who can bring about change in attitudes and give better value to the hard pressed ratepayer Homshaw1

3:13pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Jolly Roger says...

Well lets cut the councillors money for a start it was once an honour to be a councillor - no pay.

Milage allowance could also be cut.

If Coun Dixon wants everyone to say what to cut everything should be included and taken into account and acted upon.
Well lets cut the councillors money for a start it was once an honour to be a councillor - no pay. Milage allowance could also be cut. If Coun Dixon wants everyone to say what to cut everything should be included and taken into account and acted upon. Jolly Roger

4:32pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

No problem with councillors getting allowances but the streets are flithy and yet there is no work ethic among the workers. Supervisors dodge their responsibility to manage.

Make a complaint and nothing happens but there is an endless queue of office staff available to make excuses

Sort out these issues and there would be no need for any reduction in services. Cuts in staff are going to happen because there is no money - get used to it

Councillor Dixon seems to lack the bottle to tackle the real issues
No problem with councillors getting allowances but the streets are flithy and yet there is no work ethic among the workers. Supervisors dodge their responsibility to manage. Make a complaint and nothing happens but there is an endless queue of office staff available to make excuses Sort out these issues and there would be no need for any reduction in services. Cuts in staff are going to happen because there is no money - get used to it Councillor Dixon seems to lack the bottle to tackle the real issues Homshaw1

6:28pm Wed 27 Feb 13

hemmi1 says...

I have worked closely with with a lot of council front line staff and I can honestly say the vast magority of them would never get employment elsewhere my work ethics have always been to give the customer every help I can and always go the extra mile to make it happen however your typical council employee seem to think that the smallest effort is too much I know one who has spent 20 years thinking of reasons he cant do things instead of spending his time learning to do things better This attitude seems to come from above and work its way down
Contract work out to private companys and charitys get the work done better first time every time
I have worked closely with with a lot of council front line staff and I can honestly say the vast magority of them would never get employment elsewhere my work ethics have always been to give the customer every help I can and always go the extra mile to make it happen however your typical council employee seem to think that the smallest effort is too much I know one who has spent 20 years thinking of reasons he cant do things instead of spending his time learning to do things better This attitude seems to come from above and work its way down Contract work out to private companys and charitys get the work done better first time every time hemmi1

6:59pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Darloresident says...

Usual rubbish from the incompetents that are this Council...
Their track record says they dont listen to the residents and do exactly as they want..Im afraid my cynicism remains-it is well founded based on past history.
Bleed the residents dry for every last penny, waste the money on ill thought out ill judged unwanted projects (too many to mention but everyone has their favourites).Each one will of course go over budget or will not be fit for purpose.What happens when central government force them to get their house in order by capping the amount the poor hapless residents pay?
Why of course the first and last thing on their short sighted agenda is cuts,cuts,cuts..How about efficiency,efficienc
y,efficiency??
Mr Dixon can stick his consultation where the sun dont shine..I for one wont be contributing because I am unashamedly a Cynic
Usual rubbish from the incompetents that are this Council... Their track record says they dont listen to the residents and do exactly as they want..Im afraid my cynicism remains-it is well founded based on past history. Bleed the residents dry for every last penny, waste the money on ill thought out ill judged unwanted projects (too many to mention but everyone has their favourites).Each one will of course go over budget or will not be fit for purpose.What happens when central government force them to get their house in order by capping the amount the poor hapless residents pay? Why of course the first and last thing on their short sighted agenda is cuts,cuts,cuts..How about efficiency,efficienc y,efficiency?? Mr Dixon can stick his consultation where the sun dont shine..I for one wont be contributing because I am unashamedly a Cynic Darloresident

9:37pm Wed 27 Feb 13

stevegg says...

As has been pointed out, Bill Dixon and his cronies are missing the real issues here as they want you and me to believe that all the sacrificies have to be cut from services the public need or want. Once again they side step the real issues which is costing us millions - gross inefficiency, overstaffing, exorbatant wages, expenses & pensions. Having worked in the council for 3 years I know the prevailing attitude is not we are here to serve the public spending money as wisely as possible but one of the public are here to fulfill our needs and if we blow a lot of money doing it and are grossly inefficient, so what. This mindset is prevelant amongst all staff but gets worse the higher up the ladder you go, they just refuse to upset the status quo within the council ranks so persist in telling us that the the only option is the front line has to suffer as they cannot put up council tax in double figures (which is their preferred option) and that staffing levels have been cut to the bone. I guaruntee that if a private firm were in control over half the jobs would go and those that were left would be expected to work **** hard for their money and be achieve meaningful targets. Personally I dont want to see that, but its well overdue that substantial effeciency savings were made internally instead of bleating on about you and me having to make all the sacrifices.
As has been pointed out, Bill Dixon and his cronies are missing the real issues here as they want you and me to believe that all the sacrificies have to be cut from services the public need or want. Once again they side step the real issues which is costing us millions - gross inefficiency, overstaffing, exorbatant wages, expenses & pensions. Having worked in the council for 3 years I know the prevailing attitude is not we are here to serve the public spending money as wisely as possible but one of the public are here to fulfill our needs and if we blow a lot of money doing it and are grossly inefficient, so what. This mindset is prevelant amongst all staff but gets worse the higher up the ladder you go, they just refuse to upset the status quo within the council ranks so persist in telling us that the the only option is the front line has to suffer as they cannot put up council tax in double figures (which is their preferred option) and that staffing levels have been cut to the bone. I guaruntee that if a private firm were in control over half the jobs would go and those that were left would be expected to work **** hard for their money and be achieve meaningful targets. Personally I dont want to see that, but its well overdue that substantial effeciency savings were made internally instead of bleating on about you and me having to make all the sacrifices. stevegg

10:47pm Wed 27 Feb 13

maclaren says...

stevegg wrote:
As has been pointed out, Bill Dixon and his cronies are missing the real issues here as they want you and me to believe that all the sacrificies have to be cut from services the public need or want. Once again they side step the real issues which is costing us millions - gross inefficiency, overstaffing, exorbatant wages, expenses & pensions. Having worked in the council for 3 years I know the prevailing attitude is not we are here to serve the public spending money as wisely as possible but one of the public are here to fulfill our needs and if we blow a lot of money doing it and are grossly inefficient, so what. This mindset is prevelant amongst all staff but gets worse the higher up the ladder you go, they just refuse to upset the status quo within the council ranks so persist in telling us that the the only option is the front line has to suffer as they cannot put up council tax in double figures (which is their preferred option) and that staffing levels have been cut to the bone. I guaruntee that if a private firm were in control over half the jobs would go and those that were left would be expected to work **** hard for their money and be achieve meaningful targets. Personally I dont want to see that, but its well overdue that substantial effeciency savings were made internally instead of bleating on about you and me having to make all the sacrifices.
You are bang out of order to claim that all council staff have the same mindset, that we don't care, I have worked for the council for over 20 years with over 20 years in the private sector before that and I have always carried out my duties to the best of my ability and ALWAYS put the customer first your comments are deeply offensive
[quote][p][bold]stevegg[/bold] wrote: As has been pointed out, Bill Dixon and his cronies are missing the real issues here as they want you and me to believe that all the sacrificies have to be cut from services the public need or want. Once again they side step the real issues which is costing us millions - gross inefficiency, overstaffing, exorbatant wages, expenses & pensions. Having worked in the council for 3 years I know the prevailing attitude is not we are here to serve the public spending money as wisely as possible but one of the public are here to fulfill our needs and if we blow a lot of money doing it and are grossly inefficient, so what. This mindset is prevelant amongst all staff but gets worse the higher up the ladder you go, they just refuse to upset the status quo within the council ranks so persist in telling us that the the only option is the front line has to suffer as they cannot put up council tax in double figures (which is their preferred option) and that staffing levels have been cut to the bone. I guaruntee that if a private firm were in control over half the jobs would go and those that were left would be expected to work **** hard for their money and be achieve meaningful targets. Personally I dont want to see that, but its well overdue that substantial effeciency savings were made internally instead of bleating on about you and me having to make all the sacrifices.[/p][/quote]You are bang out of order to claim that all council staff have the same mindset, that we don't care, I have worked for the council for over 20 years with over 20 years in the private sector before that and I have always carried out my duties to the best of my ability and ALWAYS put the customer first your comments are deeply offensive maclaren

12:46pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Spy Boy says...

Homshaw1 wrote:
"Council leader Bill Dixon has urged people to put cynicism to one side"

Difficult

There is still plenty of scope to save very large amounts of money without compromising any services but there is no suggestion that this is on the agenda

By restricting the discussion as to what services are to remain and which are to go the implication is that wasteful and badly organised ways of working will continue.

If they can't do their job they should resign and make way for someone who can bring about change in attitudes and give better value to the hard pressed ratepayer
Exactly. The council seem to be suffering from a loss of imagination and an even larger loss of realism. It's all brought about by the people being in the jobs too long. We need a new team inplace with the knowledge, talent and imagination to handle the running of the town. The executive branch have lost sight of what they are supposed to be doing. It's not just a benefit that we are running for them, after all. I mean, what use are these execs ? If your boat is sinking who do you call ? Certainly not an exec. If there is ever a problem you would never ever tink of calling in an exec. That would simply cause an escalation of the problem, be non-cost effective and end up with the wrong result and a huge bill. Lose them and get an expert in.
[quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: "Council leader Bill Dixon has urged people to put cynicism to one side" Difficult There is still plenty of scope to save very large amounts of money without compromising any services but there is no suggestion that this is on the agenda By restricting the discussion as to what services are to remain and which are to go the implication is that wasteful and badly organised ways of working will continue. If they can't do their job they should resign and make way for someone who can bring about change in attitudes and give better value to the hard pressed ratepayer[/p][/quote]Exactly. The council seem to be suffering from a loss of imagination and an even larger loss of realism. It's all brought about by the people being in the jobs too long. We need a new team inplace with the knowledge, talent and imagination to handle the running of the town. The executive branch have lost sight of what they are supposed to be doing. It's not just a benefit that we are running for them, after all. I mean, what use are these execs ? If your boat is sinking who do you call ? Certainly not an exec. If there is ever a problem you would never ever tink of calling in an exec. That would simply cause an escalation of the problem, be non-cost effective and end up with the wrong result and a huge bill. Lose them and get an expert in. Spy Boy

1:08pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

"You are bang out of order to claim that all council staff have the same mindset, that we don't care, I have worked for the council for over 20 years with over 20 years in the private sector before that and I have always carried out my duties to the best of my ability and ALWAYS put the customer first your comments are deeply offensive”

You may think it offensive but if what you say is true you seem to be in a very small minority
"You are bang out of order to claim that all council staff have the same mindset, that we don't care, I have worked for the council for over 20 years with over 20 years in the private sector before that and I have always carried out my duties to the best of my ability and ALWAYS put the customer first your comments are deeply offensive” You may think it offensive but if what you say is true you seem to be in a very small minority Homshaw1

4:32pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Homshaw1 says...

To put this into perspective only 102 out of 250 authorities are planning to put up council taxes. The average increase is 1%.

Darlington are planning a 2% increase, selling off facilities and still whinging about being unable to cope.

We need a lot more outsourcing so operations are controlled by professional managers and not councillors who are having the mickey taken out of them by the council managers
To put this into perspective only 102 out of 250 authorities are planning to put up council taxes. The average increase is 1%. Darlington are planning a 2% increase, selling off facilities and still whinging about being unable to cope. We need a lot more outsourcing so operations are controlled by professional managers and not councillors who are having the mickey taken out of them by the council managers Homshaw1

9:06pm Thu 28 Feb 13

maclaren says...

Homshaw1 wrote:
"You are bang out of order to claim that all council staff have the same mindset, that we don't care, I have worked for the council for over 20 years with over 20 years in the private sector before that and I have always carried out my duties to the best of my ability and ALWAYS put the customer first your comments are deeply offensive”

You may think it offensive but if what you say is true you seem to be in a very small minority
Homshaw 1 I agree You are right I am in the minority but just because I work for the council does not make me a lazy, work shy or incompetent.
[quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: "You are bang out of order to claim that all council staff have the same mindset, that we don't care, I have worked for the council for over 20 years with over 20 years in the private sector before that and I have always carried out my duties to the best of my ability and ALWAYS put the customer first your comments are deeply offensive” You may think it offensive but if what you say is true you seem to be in a very small minority[/p][/quote]Homshaw 1 I agree You are right I am in the minority but just because I work for the council does not make me a lazy, work shy or incompetent. maclaren

7:05pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Spy Boy says...

hemmi1 wrote:
I have worked closely with with a lot of council front line staff and I can honestly say the vast magority of them would never get employment elsewhere my work ethics have always been to give the customer every help I can and always go the extra mile to make it happen however your typical council employee seem to think that the smallest effort is too much I know one who has spent 20 years thinking of reasons he cant do things instead of spending his time learning to do things better This attitude seems to come from above and work its way down
Contract work out to private companys and charitys get the work done better first time every time
I know exactly what you mean. The term 'Civil Servant' is a complete misnomer. They don't look at us as customers, more like a pain they have to endure before stinging us, or fobbing us off.
[quote][p][bold]hemmi1[/bold] wrote: I have worked closely with with a lot of council front line staff and I can honestly say the vast magority of them would never get employment elsewhere my work ethics have always been to give the customer every help I can and always go the extra mile to make it happen however your typical council employee seem to think that the smallest effort is too much I know one who has spent 20 years thinking of reasons he cant do things instead of spending his time learning to do things better This attitude seems to come from above and work its way down Contract work out to private companys and charitys get the work done better first time every time[/p][/quote]I know exactly what you mean. The term 'Civil Servant' is a complete misnomer. They don't look at us as customers, more like a pain they have to endure before stinging us, or fobbing us off. Spy Boy

7:08pm Fri 1 Mar 13

Spy Boy says...

I accept that not all council employees are this bad, but I have encountered enough of the sort that have caused the comments above.
I accept that not all council employees are this bad, but I have encountered enough of the sort that have caused the comments above. Spy Boy

7:23pm Fri 1 Mar 13

oliviaden6 says...

DBC needs to be more prudent with its staffing and the way it is spending OUR hard earned money. You could liken DBC to Dick Turpin stand and deliver and go to hell is you dont like it. The time has come to weild the axe in the managerial sections of this borough council from where i sit it is over staffed and over paid and thinks it is untouchable, well the day is coming at the ballot if the people of the great borough of Darlington have any sense they will boot them out through the ballot box!
DBC needs to be more prudent with its staffing and the way it is spending OUR hard earned money. You could liken DBC to Dick Turpin stand and deliver and go to hell is you dont like it. The time has come to weild the axe in the managerial sections of this borough council from where i sit it is over staffed and over paid and thinks it is untouchable, well the day is coming at the ballot if the people of the great borough of Darlington have any sense they will boot them out through the ballot box! oliviaden6

3:25am Sun 3 Mar 13

Craz3yk says...

Lets rebel against them all no c tax for oaps they made this country threw war and sacrifice don't kill Britain u gready **** **** etc u deciede I love my town and herratiage DTC
Lets rebel against them all no c tax for oaps they made this country threw war and sacrifice don't kill Britain u gready **** **** etc u deciede I love my town and herratiage DTC Craz3yk

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree