People in Aberdeen will be able to have a greater say in future on the city’s spending priorities it was announced today (Wednesday 14 June).
A landmark protocol to engage the public in future budget setting, was approved at the Full Council meeting.
Under the new process, the public and other key stakeholders, will be asked for their views in a two-phase consultation period ahead of final annual budget setting in which they will also be able to gain a better understanding of the financial choices facing the council.
The shared understanding between the public and elected members will enable each group to establish some common ground in order to co-design a balanced annual budget and overcome potential areas of disagreement.
The first phase of public engagement will aim to gather information on where the public see their main priorities, in terms of where the budget allocations should be made. The findings will be reported back to elected members and allow them to begin preparation for their own budget, which will be presented in February/March of the following calendar year.
The second phase of engagement will see the public presented with a series of detailed budget options that will capture their views on how the books might be balanced.
Aberdeen City Council Finance and Resources Convener, Councillor Alex McLellan said: “"I am pleased that the Council has now agreed the budget protocol that will seek to engage citizens around how the council sets its annual budget.
“The council is faced with taking difficult decisions to make savings and this protocol will strengthen the consultation process with citizens.
“This will give citizens an opportunity to highlight what they believe is important and that information will be considered as part of the budget process moving forward."
Co leader, Councillor Ian Yuill, said: "I am pleased that the Council has been able to agree this protocol which will create a more open and inclusive way of setting a balanced Council budget in very challenging financial times. Involving people in this way will help ensure the priorities of Aberdeen’s communities are at the heart of the process.“
A formal review of the protocol will be undertaken following approval of the Council’s budget for 2024/25 and reported back to a subsequent Full Council meeting to discuss lessons learned.