Thanet District Council’s annual Residents’ Survey has now started. It is a chance for people to have their say about where they live and the services provided by the council.
This year, the council is also asking for residents to give their views on its draft Corporate Plan 2024-2028 and draft budget for the next financial year. The information received will help to shape the work the council does in the district.
6,000 Thanet residents will receive a postcard inviting them to take part. These residents have been selected at random, and weighted by postcode area to ensure an even distribution of geographical area. The online survey should take around 20 minutes to complete. Residents invited to complete the survey will also be given information on how to request a printed copy if one is required.
Members of the public who do not receive a postcard are also invited to give their views on Your Voice Thanet, the council’s online public engagement platform.
The Corporate Plan sets out the council’s priorities for the future of Thanet. It provides a framework for the council to plan its work, and to make sure that resources are focused on what matters most to residents. The plan also outlines how the council intends to meet its objectives and ensures that the community and stakeholders are aware of the key work the council is delivering. Progress will be measured against each of the new priorities.
The Corporate Plan is renewed every four years, and the current one has now reached the end of its cycle. The new proposed priorities have been developed, taking into consideration the feedback consistently received from residents.
The following corporate priorities set out the things that the council will focus on over the next four years, to achieve its vision for Thanet.
Priority one: To keep our district safe and clean
Priority two: To deliver the housing we need
Priority three: To protect our environment
Priority four: To create a thriving place
Priority five: To work efficiently for you
The draft Corporate Plan will be submitted to the council’s Overview and Scrutiny, Cabinet and Council for review and approval, early in 2024.
As part of this survey, residents are also invited to give their feedback on the council’s proposed budget for 2024-25, as part of the budget setting process for the financial year ahead. An initial draft budget was presented to Cabinet in October 2023. The budget report will include recommendations to Council about financing the huge range of public services provided, and spending on new proposals; and on ways that all this can be financed. The budget is agreed in January each year, with final decisions taken by the full Council in early February and is then implemented in April at the start of the new financial year.
Since 2010, the council has seen a 60% reduction in funding from central government. In real terms this represents about £8million in cuts. This has resulted in increased pressure to fund a greater proportion of local services from Council Tax. The financial outlook for councils is expected to remain challenging. In light of this, it is essential that council resources are targeted to meet residents’ priorities.
It is expected that district councils will be permitted to increase Council Tax for 2024/25 by a maximum of 3% or £5, whichever is higher. For Thanet, a 3% increase would result in a £7.64 increase for households in Council Tax band D and this is proposed in the draft budget.
Cllr Rick Everitt, Leader of Thanet District Council said: “The annual residents’ survey offers people a chance to tell us about the things that matter most to them, and where they think we should be focussing. The insight we get helps us to plan for the future and to identify areas where there is a need for improvement.
“The Corporate Plan has reached the end of its lifespan, and this is the perfect time for us to take a close look at our priorities, and refresh them.
“Last year, again residents told us that feeling safe, clean streets and thriving towns were most important to them, and also in need of improvement. These remain a priority, and alongside these, we are introducing new priorities to our draft plan, for example, protecting the environment and the need to provide more housing, which have both moved up the agenda.
“The draft Corporate Plan belongs to the whole council, and will be in place for the next four years. It reflects the priorities of the entire Thanet community, which is why we are committed to giving residents the opportunity to tell us how they feel.
“I would urge as many residents as possible to complete the survey, and in particular, anyone who receives a postcard from us. Hearing directly from residents, about what they really want, helps us to deliver the services that people are most keen to see prioritised.”
The random sample of residents will receive a postcard providing them with a unique reference number which they will need to complete the survey online. The survey can be completed by any resident (aged 18+) living at that address, but only one survey can be completed per household. The survey can also be completed by anyone more widely in the community, on the council’s public engagement platform, Your Voice Thanet. The survey can be accessed via yourvoice.thanet.gov.uk. All responses to the survey will remain anonymous.
All surveys should be completed by 5pm on Tuesday 2 January 2024. The results from last year’s survey can be found on our website.
The results will be published and will be used to help inform our services in the future.