Time running out to help shape the future of discretionary council services


Monday, 31 July, 2023

Local residents and community partners have until Thursday 10 August 2023 to have their say on the future of Woking Borough Council discretionary services.

So far the council has received over 6,500 responses and is keen to hear from more local residents and stakeholders before it’s too late.

Services, such as arts and culture, sports and leisure, and independent living, are currently provided and funded at the discretion of Woking Borough Council. Many councils do not always fund or provide these services.

Considering the significant financial challenges the council faces, including the need to bridge an £11 million budget shortfall in 2024/25, it is necessary to make difficult decisions about these discretionary services.

In order to continue providing these services the council may need to increase charges, transfer the delivery of services to partners or not provide the service at all.

Cllr Ann-Marie Barker, Leader of Woking Bough Council, said: “I am extremely grateful to the thousands of residents who have already taken the time to tell the council their views. However, we want to hear from as many of you as possible.

“I understand how passionate residents are towards the services they reply upon. However to support the council’s short-term financial stability, difficult decisions about the future of these services must be made.

“It is important that before any decisions are made we understand which services matter most to you. Your views are paramount in determining the future of the discretionary services we provide whilst ensuring best value for local taxpayers. The more feedback we receive the better informed we will be when making decisions.”

Services such as waste and recycling collections, planning, housing, homelessness and environmental health are statutory services that are required by law and will continue to be provided. Services delivered by Surrey County Council, such as highway maintenance, are not affected.

All responses received will be evaluated before informing the Medium-Term Financial Strategy that is expected to be presented to September’s full council meeting.

Residents and partners keen to tell the council their views on discretionary services can do so by visiting Woking Community Forum.

The closing date is Thursday 10 August 2023.