What is the challenge?
Welcome to West Berkshire Council’s Budget Challenge and thank you for taking part.
We'd like to set you the challenge of balancing our 2022/23 budget, which means that the amount of money spent should be the same as the amount taken in. We remain focused on frontline services, so that we can keep providing those that are important to you. We're now asking you to do the same and work out how you would divide your budget between core services, such as Learning and Libraries, Rubbish and Recycling and Social Care.
Our budget simulator is easy to use. It allows you to increase or decrease spending across council services, and see the consequences of your choices. The challenge uses the council’s latest financial position, and already takes into account savings of £1.3m identified in support services and reduced borrowing costs.
Some of our services, such as Social Care, not only have to support vulnerable people, but are statutory obligations, so the budget cannot be reduced by large amounts.
The simulator also allows you to change how much you charge for Council Tax.
Once the challenge has closed at midnight Sunday, 28 November 2021 we will look at where you and other residents chose to spend your budget, and use this to help inform how we set budgets in the future.
How does it work?
When you’re ready to create your budget click on the ’Create your Budget’ button, then:
- From the left-hand column, choose a category, e.g. Income, Social Care, Rubbish and Recycling. You can find more information on each category, by clicking the information icon to the left of the name.
- Using the slider, you can choose how much you want to decrease or increase spend on each category. The consequences of your decisions are shown on the right-hand side of the page, and the change this makes to your budget shows at the top. The consequences do not necessarily reflect exactly what would happen, but are included to provide you with examples of what we have to consider when setting our budget each year.
- When you’ve balanced your budget, the top of the page will turn green and say “You have balanced the budget”.
- Once you’re happy that you’ve made the right choices, click ‘Review and Finish’. You’ll then be able to leave a comment and double-check your choices before submitting your final budget. If at this stage you want to amend your choices, use the ‘Change Budget’ button to try again.
- Once you’ve submitted your budget, there are some optional questions about you. These show us whether people with differing experiences and viewpoints have taken the challenge, but it’s up to you whether you answer them or not.