Bristol’s Budget conversation

The scale of the financial pressures on the public sector are becoming ever more clear, as more detail emerges from Government following the Chancellor’s Budget statement earlier this week. We’ll see more detail in the autumn when the Comprehensive Spending Review is published.

Nationally, the coalition Government is beginning a public debate generally on public spending and public services. They are asking for bright ideas, on:

  • how the public sector can achieve better value for money through efficiencies or more joint working;
  • areas of work that whilst important, could better (and more efficiently) be delivered by people other than the existing public sector agencies;
  • on any public services that in these tough financial times could usefully be cut back or stopped altogether.

Bristol City Council is adopting a similar approach, beginning the conversation here and inviting you to submit ideas, suggestions and challenges for Bristol.

From 16th July we will develop and test ideas, publish more detail on particular areas that are being considered.  We will invite you to add your views and help as some of the ideas are developed.

Towards the end of the year we will publish detailed proposals on the Council’s budget plans for next year.  These will incorporate ideas that have been initiated or contributed to by Bristol residents.

Picture of Barbara JankeCouncil Leader Barbara Janke added:

“Over the coming months, we will be facing the big challenges that will shape the future of public services in Bristol for the coming years.  By launching an open and genuine a debate, we want local people in their thousands to tell us their ideas, and to help inform those that we take forward and develop further.  When we publish our full package of proposals towards the end of the year, I want the public to see that their ideas and views are reflected.  This will be a tough time, but I am fully committed to seeing that our approach reflects what the public thinks, and properly reflects their priorities.”

Join the public conversation and make your suggestion

We know that not everybody wants to express themselves on a public discussion forum, so if you prefer to make a private submission about a great money saving idea – use this form.

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About Consultation Team

Ask Bristol from Bristol City Council provides a range of e-participation tools to make it easier for citizens to get involved in local democracy and raise issues with the council. Ask Bristol includes: webcasting; a consultation finder listing all the council's consultation in one place on the web; a wordpress-powered discussion site and online polling and surveys

438 thoughts on “Bristol’s Budget conversation

  1. It was great to read in the Evening Post today that the City Council are actually considering switching traffic lights to flashing amber. Has someone really woken up to reality, or is this just a dream?

  2. Do we really need the proposed huge Bendy-Buses, the roads are already blocked enough by our present buses! Would it not be better to have twice the number of smaller buses, 3 seats wide, as do many continental cities. They would provide a more frequent service and cause less obstruction.

    • Dear Georges
      The voice of reason at last. The bendy bus scheme is a complete waste of time. We used to have a very good bus system in this city with small city darts, single deckers, double deckers and low emission gas powered buses. We were moving in the right direction and progressing towards a greener environment. What happened ? All of a sudden the city darts disappeared as did the gas powered buses and we are back to the 1960’s. I just don’t get it. Anybody else out there share this view?


      • Yep First have taken us back to the 1990s.
        It seems they have used council money and the Vivaldi EU grant of millions to buy massive new buses that greatly reduce their operating costs (fuel, servicing, maintenance and staffing) but are not fit for purpose. These buses are so big that they do not fit in bus lanes and cannot be parked straight to the kerb causing congestion that slows or stops the next bus! So the service is slower! Of course if the council ‘policed’ yellow lines the bus lanes would be clear and that woudl help

  3. I think the idea of turning off certain traffic lights outside of peak hours would be a fantastic idea.

    If we invested slightly more in the youth within Bristol at the moment then we would save a lot of money in the long term (in terms of crime, anti-scoial behaviour etc.)

    I would love to see more of the council making use of the unemployed, there are many people out of work at the moment that would be happy to do a days work to assist their community and to get them out of the house (quite often these are good things to put on CV’s instead of just “made redundant” – buy them lunch, advertise well and people will come!
    On a similar note trying to get many of the bigger companies in Bristol to run apprentice schemes (which don’t cap age – redundancies have meant many people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s now need to retrain and look at alternatives!)

    STOP advertising council jobs internally only – don’t you realise that you are continuing the unemployment cycle by doing this and missing out on some talented people to boot?

    I think it would be a good idea for all food sold in cafeteria’s, hospitals, schools, nurseries, council houses and punlic services in general, to be supplied by local farmers, using local produce, literally ‘feeding’ back into the local economy.

    • You wouldn’t be so hasty to endorse the idea of turning off traffic lights if you were involved in a crippling or fatal accident as a result of such an action. It is just not sensible. As a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist and driver I don’t like the idea at all. I agree that to begin with people would approach the lights with caution even if they were off but there has already been a nasty accident during daylight hours down at Clevedon or Portishead where this silly experiment was tried out. If it had not just been a collision between two cars at low speed it could of ended up killing or maiming somebody.


      • Well if we are going to keep the traffic lights lets stop people jumping them with enforcement cameras so pedestrians know that the traffic will stop at red. That has got to make it better for other vulnerable road users like cyclists and motorcyclists as well

  4. Environmental clear up and Right of Passage for Youth.

    As a teenager I was lucky enough to attend an Outward bound Course, aged 13 for one week and found it had an immeasurable positive effect on my social confidence.

    Together with youngsters from all backgrounds in Bristol I was able to team-work in the great outdoors. We bonded and let off steam from the city life.

    I have been inspired by the Orange Rock Corps model (whereby four hours voluntary work buys you one gig ticket) to suggest;
    A scheme whereby Young people in Bristol can volunteer at jobs such as environmental clear ups in exchange for a weeks adventure holiday.
    Not only does this provide a lesson in working for rewards, care and pride in our local environment and an opening for social cohesion but could provide that empowering landmark right of passage young people today are in need of.

    • Hello Tessa,

      Thank you for this suggestion which was selected for the feedback report and was discussed with the Council’s Cabinet and with Service Directors.

      People who take part in existing volunteering opportunities do a huge amount of good and we strongly support more young people taking part. We are currently developing a ‘green volunteers’ scheme – so keep an eye out for an announcement soon.

  5. There are so many ways in which the council can save some of the money it spends without hugely impacting on the end users – the residents of Bristol.
    There are too many Service Directors, duplicate & unnecessary managers. A reduction in some of these can free up money that can either be spent elsewhere or saved towards the ongoing savings that are needed.
    Turning off some of the street lights during night time hours would also save money as well as doing a lot for the environment.
    Turning off lights in Council Buildings outside of office hours would also help.
    Re-distributing staff to empty buildings and fully utilise the existing buildings. Selling some of the empty buildings either for office space or for redevelopment would also be beneficial to bringing in further revenue whist also reducing on-going costs.
    Turning off unnecessary traffic lights outside of peak hours.

    • Obviously elections every four years for the whole council. Cut the number of councillors in half. The council to take up powers (which are available to it) to enforce fines for parking on pavements. the council to take up available powers to charge utilities and construction companies for closing off streets for years a t a time. Should be good revenue earners. Maximum pay for Chief Exec 50,000, other wages accordingly. Don’t listen to the arguments about comparison with industry, most of these bureaucrats wouldn’t survive for ten minutes in private industry. Withdraw all transport subsidies from councillors and officials except for front line social workers. Implement Greater Bristol Transport Authority and knock heads together on oyster cards, metro, etc.

  6. To the person who facetiously suggested we could save the British economy buying old motorbikes. You all should have bought lots of new British motorbikes when we manufactured them over here because buying masses of foreign goods has actually destroyed most of Britain’s industries and that which has been destroyed can rarely be resurrected. All of us are in some way shape or form responsible for the demise of our own country.

    • I suppose you think that the Hondas and Toyotas made in the UK are ‘Japanese’ too just because the holding company is listed on the NIKKEI.

      By your logic, doing some shopping in Cardiff destroys the English economy and going for a night out in London the Bristol economy.

      The mercantilist economies of China ($4,000 GDP/capita) and Germany (8.5% unemployment) aren’t some kind of utopia you know.

  7. If I ruled the world – or at least had some say on how save some money at Bristol City Council, my first step would be to put the electoral house in order. Stop these 1/3 elections: it would save money and end some of the short-termism prevalent in BCC decision making.

    Employ some good strategic thinkers – especially in the transport/pollution area. On a clear sunny day , the dull grey cloud hanging over Bristol can be seen from miles away. I dont like the feeling of “I live under that”. Shifting people away from cars onto public transport and cycles, but making money at the same time would be an ideal , but I’m sure its achievable by – a pollution payment ( based on the London Congestion Charge), High work-place parking charges.Very high and enforced fines for anti-social road behaviour – Parking in Bus lanes, cycle lanes and the pavement. And if cyclists are to benefit then the rogue element to be fined heavily for cycling on pavements, jumping traffic lights and especially not lighting up at night. Turn some of the new industrial area on the M32/M4 into a big park and ride and charge heavily for those who wish to bring their own cars in.

    Council buildings should be used more efficiently. Employ someone at Director level who understands Libraries and can manage other Council property – to share resources, utilise buildings more effectively. Libraries aren’t used enough and by the wrong people; but it would be politically unacceptable to close them down or charge high fees for borrowing books. So make the buildings multi-task. Use automated booking out technology; dont make the staff redundant , but use their literary skills in oureaching to areas of the community who really need those skills.

    Learn the difference between Management Information and Management Data. Far too much data is collected ( I now resent it each time I’m going a equal opportunities/ethnic background form to fill in ), and far too little information is distilled. Stop collecting stuff which is hardly used; use common sense; does it matter that the Somali Community is not attending the latest Jazz from a Finnish collective?

    Forget setting and achieving targets – let managers manage and use their discretion. Forget rules – but by all means issue guidelines. Pragmatism not Dogmatism.

    Above the Council should remember who they serve – it is the local community. It seems that they think it is the Downing Street Cabinet Office and Whitehall bureaucrats who are their masters. ( I am sick of hearing stuff like ………. we did/didn’t like this planning application but we had to act they way we did because the decision would have been changed on appeal to central government).

    When the Poll tax came in I was apalled the Council collected and the local judiciary enforced it, and it was up to the people to rebel.

    Take the lead this time round. Fight you corners and be proud of what you do.

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