Council vows to be ‘better at listening’ to public opinion in the future

Cllr Don Davies.

Cllr Don Davies. - Credit: Archant

Voters can help shape the future of local authority services at a series of consultations, with councillors promising to be ‘better at listening to residents’.

North Somerset Council will host a series of focus group events as it develops a new corporate plan, which will outline its priorities and ambitions for years to come.

The council, which continues to face budget pressures as Government funding dwindles, has encouraged people to have their say on what services they want the authority to provide.

Council leader Donald Davies said: "We are ambitious for North Somerset, but we also need to be realistic.

"Budgets continue to be tight and our population is growing, so it's vital that we prioritise and have a robust plan to deliver our agenda.

"As an organisation we want to be better at listening to our residents and communities which is why we're asking you, our residents, to get involved in helping us shape our future plans."

The focus groups will be for a maximum of 10 people, with four events to take part in.

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The first session in Locking Castle will be held at The Campus, in Highlands Lane, on November 4 from 2-4pm. A second focus group will meet at Weston Museum, in Burlington Street, on November 6 from 6-8pm.

There will also be sessions in Portishead and Nailsea on October 26 and November 5

The consultation is part of the ruling rainbow coalition's strategy to increase public engagement after winning power from the Conservatives in May's elections.

Following the election, Cllr Davies told the Times: "We need to better understand how we can interact with the public, and particularly town and parish councils.

"I do think there is a massive resource there and the door has been slammed in their face.

"My experiences of parish councils is they want to do things, and the council has actually stopped them doing things.

"A lot of town and parish councils have got money set aside to do things for their residents, but they have been stymied from doing it which I think is absolutely bizarre."

To volunteer to join a focus group, email by Monday.