Cheshire West and Chester Council is seeking the views of the public on its plans to carry out an extensive review into the way it delivers all its public services.
Since its inception in 2009, the authority claims it has saved more than £113m and re-invested £44m in protecting front-line services.
Despite this, cuts in central funding mean that CWaC still has to save a further £50m by 2018.
The review – titled ‘Make or Buy’ – will pose a number of option for service provision, including sharing with other organisations and delivery through the private sector, council companies, co-operatives/mutuals or voluntary bodies.
It will probe whether council services are delivering what residents need and want – and at what cost.
And it will consider how innovation can improve quality and whether organisations outside the council could provide the same service, or better, for less cash.
CWaC has launched a major consultation exercise to gauge public opinion on possible change before launching a two year review aimed at deciding on the best ways to maintain quality and reduce costs.
Council leader Mike Jones said: “The potential for change is huge and it is vital that we understand what the public thinks in order to approach the reviews in a fair and responsive way.”
“No-matter how it is decided that services are to be delivered, It is important to remember, that council will always be responsible for monitoring the overall standards provided.”
The initial public consultation will last three months with the public invited to respond to a comprehensive questionnaire, initially through the West Cheshire View – a 2,300 strong citizens’ panel, representing all sections of society.
Businesses and individuals can respond on-line at www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/makeorbuy or complete hard copies of the document available on request at libraries, other council buildings and at some public events.
There is also a dedicated information hotline on 0300 123 7031.
It is hoped that a summary of the consultation feedback will be presented to executive members at the end of the year followed by a report on the committee’s recommendations.
If significant changes in delivery are proposed, there will be further consultation with the general public and with particular groups who may be involved.