Customer story: East Dunbartonshire Council, UK

Budget Simulator
'screenshot of 'East Dunbartonshire Council, UK
'screenshot of 'East Dunbartonshire Council, UK

Council Savings

East Dunbartonshire Council needed to make substantial savings, some £20 million over three years. They wanted to ensure citizens were involved in this decision-making activity and so set out on a comprehensive 'Your Services, Your Choices' budget consultation.

The entire consultation comprised several phases and multiple channels. As well as paper surveys and in-person workshops, the Council wanted to include an element to:

  • allow residents to participate online
  • reach a wide audience
  • engage citizens with the difficult decisions facing the Council

East Dunbartonshire chose to kick off their consultation with Budget Simulator

Budget Simulator lets citizens try their hand at the challenge of balancing a budget, adjusting real data on spending and consequences to reflect their preferences.

To accurately reflect their budgeting situation, East Dunbartonshire used a savings-only model: residents were asked to adjust sliders to reduce spending in different service areas by between 0% and 60%. This draws residents into a deliberative process, carefully evaluating the possible options before submitting their considered preferences.

screenshot of East Dunbartonshire Budget Simulator

Initially, the Budget Simulator was going to be live for 4 weeks – but the East Dunbartonshire consultation team soon decided to extend this, running it for 2 months and making it available alongside the Householders Questionnaire.

Guide: how to involve citizens in budget consultation.

I’d encourage everyone to visit this online budget setting tool and see where they would find the £20 million we still need to save over the next three years. We really want to hear everyone’s views on where they think these savings can be made and whether there might be alternatives to these.

Rhondda Geekie, Council Leader, East Dunbartonshire Council

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