Hoping to mine new ideas from ‘conversations’ over Council’s Redesign

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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is hosting Community Engagement Events throughout November focussing on a radical programme of Service Redesign.

The Comhairle needs to find at least £10m in savings over the next three years, which may involve cuts to local services, as the grip of austerity continues.

Local councillors and officials are hoping that Island communities will work with them to come up with new ideas and find ways to protect public services.

Talking about the engagement process, which has been described as ‘community conversations’, Comhairle Leader, Roddie Mackay, said: “Given the very clear challenges which we face with the current financial climate, it is more important than ever before for us to ensure the best use of resources when delivering services.

“Since 2010 the Comhairle’s funding has been cut by 17% (the highest of any council in Scotland) and around 250 local authority jobs (FTE) have been lost in our community. Whilst we don’t yet know what our financial settlement from Government is going to be for the next financial year we estimate we will have to make significant savings.

“We have committed to making savings of nearly £10m through service redesign but the fact is that even more may be required.

“I and other members do not believe that we can just cut services. We believe we have to take a more imaginative approach.

“Officers and members have discussed a process of community engagement and empowerment aimed at identifying those issues that are important to local communities, in addition to investigating ways that could reduce the demand for some services, identify other services that could be more efficiently provided by communities, and agree which services could be changed.

“While this is a time of austerity and a threat to public services, this is also a time of opportunity if we work together to engage communities as partners in change.”

The Comhairle’s website has a dedicated page with detailed information on Service Redesign: CLICK HERE

Details of the Engagement Events are listed below, but if you would like to offer your thoughts on Service Redesign, or ideas for savings which would help to protect services, let us know via the Gazette’s Facebook page or via email at: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk

The Community Engagement Events will take place on:

Thursday, Nov 1st from 7.00-9.00pm at Castlebay School, Barra

Monday, Nov 5th from 7.00-9.00pm at Back School, Lewis

Tuesday, Nov 6th from 7.00-9.00pm at Ravenspoint Centre, South Lochs

Wednesday, Nov 7th from 7.00-9.00pm at Daliburgh School, South Uist

Thursday, Nov 8th from 7.00-9.00pm at Carinish Old School, North Uist

Monday, Nov 12th from 7.00-9.00pm at Sgoil nan Loch, Lewis

Tuesday, Nov 13th from 7.00-9.00pm at Uig School, Westside

Wednesday, Nov 14th from 7.00-9.00pm at Lionel School, Ness

Thursday, Nov 15th from 7.00-9.00pm at Sgoil an Taobh Siar, Barvas

Monday, Nov 19th from 7.00-9.00pm at Sir E Scott School, Tarbert

Thursday, Nov 22nd from 7.00-9.00pm at Sgoil an Rubha, Point

Tuesday, Nov 27th from 7.00-9.00pm at Laxdale School, Lewis

Wednesday, Nov 28th from 7.00-9.00pm at Stornoway Primary School