Wellingborough Council is reaching out to community and voluntary groups in the next stage of its budget consultation.
Following a public consultation exercise that took place at the end of January and beginning of February, the council's resources committee agreed that savings proposals would be implemented subject to the satisfactory completion of equality impact assessments. So now the council has started a process to understand how the proposed cuts would affect specific groups of the community.
Detailed information about all the proposed changes to services will be available on the council's website from 2pm on Wednesday 23 February for people to comment on them. An extensive list of voluntary and community groups is also being contacted to ask for their opinions. Once the feedback has been received, the council will be in a position to understand if the proposals need modifying before final approval for the changes is given.
Councillor Paul Bell, deputy leader of the council, said: "We have a duty to make sure we provide services that are accessible to every member of our community, regardless of reasons such as disability, age, race or gender. This is why we now need to fully understand the potential impact of the proposed cuts on our residents, and we are asking community organisations for their help. We have to save a total of £3.9m from next year's budget, and obviously this will mean that some services will be reduced. What we need to know now is how these proposed reductions would affect people - for example if there are fewer employees to process benefits, or we can no longer offer a cash desk facility, or grants are cut, or some community development work has to stop.
"The results of this consultation will be carefully looked at. We do listen to people, as we showed when we decided not to cut funding from Weavers Leisure Centre after considerable public reaction. Anyone who would like to comment on how they think the proposed cuts could affect a minority group should take part in the consultation, but we also welcome ideas for alternative ways to save money. These are very challenging decisions we are making, and we want to do the best we can for all the people in Wellingborough."
The equalities consultation runs from Wednesday 23 February until Monday 21 March. People can take part online - http://www.wellingborough.gov.uk/ - or by asking for a paper copy at the council's reception or by phoning 01933 229 777.