Midlothian Council wants your views on services

Midlothian Council leader Catherine Johnstone launches the council's consultation exercise
Midlothian Council leader Catherine Johnstone launches the council's consultation exercise

Local people are being given the opportunity to have their say on the future of council services in Midlothian as pressure on budgets grow.

‘Shaping our Future’ is a new public consultation, introduced in response to the challenges facing Midlothian Council over the next few years.

With more cuts in government funding, a growing population and increased demand, the council’s aim is to transform local services to make them fit for the future.

This will be a rolling consultation exercise which will run to at least January 2017. It will influence the 2017/18 budget deliberations and beyond.

Council leader Catherine Johnstone (SNP) said: “We’re asking people what their priorities are – for their families and their communities.

“Government funding cuts mean that local councils will have less money than ever to spend over the next few years. This means that we need to plan for the future, concentrating on those areas where the need is greatest.”

“We also want residents to help us reshape our services. We need to look at how we manage demand, and deliver services in new ways, possibly with greater community involvement. There might also be some non-essential services that we need to stop providing altogether. Above all, we want to focus on getting the right outcomes for our people and our communities.”

Every council service in Midlothian is already looking at what it does, how much it costs, how it performs, and how it could be changed and improved. The council is also looking for residents, local organisations, employees and others to make their views known and to get involved in shaping Midlothian’s future.

“We’re already finalising our budget for 2016/17, but we also need to look to future years,” said councillor Johnstone. “We’re asking people to consider a number of key questions: What should Midlothian Council’s spending priorities be; how should we reshape our services to meet the needs of our residents, and how can we save money and be more efficient and effective? We also need people to think about what services could be run differently and whether or not we could share more services with other councils or partner organisations.”

She added: “We need to do much more. That’s why we’re asking people to get involved in shaping our future.”

To find out more about the consultation, visit www.midlothian.gov.uk/shapingourfuture. You can also email your comments and suggestions to haveyoursay@midlothian.gov.uk or write to Have Your Say, Midlothian Council, Midlothian House, Buccleuch Street, Dalkeith EH22 1DN.

You can join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, get in touch with your local councillor, and look out for local discussions and consultation events being organised in your area.