The Big Conversation-What is it? Should you be involved?

Some of you may have heard a little about a new engagement programme launched by Shropshire Council & named ‘The Big Conversation’. But what is it? Should you be involved? Is this about something that may affect you? Read on to find out more!

We have been asked by the VCSA to share with you what this is about as they are keen to ensure that there are opportunities for Shropshire’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to take part in The Big Conversation and also to identify opportunities for the people using VCSE services to get involved too.

The Big Conversation refers to the start of a five-year conversation and a fundamental change in the relationship with the people of Shropshire.

Like all local authorities, Shropshire Council is faced with the need to make further substantial savings in the coming years due to continuous Government cuts. The predicted budget for 2020/21 indicates that Shropshire Council will be left with just £25m (13% of the overall budget) of money to spend on the remaining 150 plus services Shropshire Council currently provides to the people of Shropshire. This is a reduction of 75% from the £100m we currently spent on these services.   There will be considerably less money. The Council will not be able to deliver the same services it provides now, and will need to prioritise how its budget is spent.

As well as asking people what they feel are the solutions to the financial challenges, Shropshire Council will need to do what it can to empower communities to use their capacity and resilience to meet their own needs.  In order to support this process, Shropshire Council needs to ask communities what they can do to help and make the resources available go further.

Click here to find out about the Big Conversation Here is a direct link to the survey

Paper copies will be made available at libraries and customer service points across the county. People can also print a copy when they access the survey, or they can print them for others. Alternatively people can call  0345 678 9077 and complete the survey with an advisor over the phone, during office hours (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

The survey is the first part of the Big Conversation and the information that is generated from the survey will help to inform the setting of the Council’s Budget for 2016/17, as well as the longer term financial strategy and delivery of services by or on behalf of the Council. In doing this there are a number of different key dates we are working to. Surveys completed by the 25 November 2015 will help to inform the 2015/16 Budget paper to Cabinet on the 9 December. Surveys completed by Tuesday 8 December will help to inform the topics and issues for discussion at the focus groups and workshops and other engagement activity that will be taking place in the New Year.

Someone from the VCSA will be at our (Shropshire Disability Network Meeting on Thursday 10th December to help our members complete the survey, should they need it.


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