Headlines: September 27th, 2010

People across the country are being asked to tell councils how savings should be made in one of the biggest ever consultations on public spending. The Local Government Group has created an online system so residents can see how their local authority spends its money and to give them the chance to suggest ways to cut millions of pounds in annual spending.

The YouChoose website invites every council in England and Wales to use the software to carry out one of the most comprehensive ever surveys on how people want their money to be spent. Dozens of councils have already expressed an interest in using the consultation tool and the group hopes hundreds of thousands of people ‘will have the opportunity to play council leader by setting budgets for services’. The software will show them the impact their spending choices will have on local services.

Rob Whiteman, the Managing Director of Local Government Improvement and Development, said the scale of cuts councils were facing would leave them having to make difficult decisions “These are extraordinary times, and it is only right that these tough choices are informed by the people who will be most affected,” he said.

The software was pioneered by the London Borough of Redbridge, which is currently running the Redbridge Conversation 2010, which has had more than 1,200 responses in two weeks.