Published: 00:01, 29 November 2012 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
by political editor Paul Francis
Kent County Council is facing criticism over a public consultation about its budget after just 416 people out of a population of 1.2million took part.
The Conservative-run council launched a wide-ranging eight-week consultation over its spending plans for 2013-14 that cost £30,000.
But, despite a major publicity programme, its efforts to engage the public in a debate about plans for savings of £60m fell on deaf ears.
Of the 416 responses, 308 were from Kent residents - with 52 coming from KCC staff and the rest from other groups.
And those who did take part delivered a mixed verdict on the authority's spending plans.
While six out of 10 supported a proposed council tax freeze, there was criticism over KCC's plans to make £18.2m savings in adult social care and spend £3m less on vulnerable children.
Many questioned how the council would protect vulnerable children and adults, voicing what a report says was "a substantial concern" about the impact of cuts.
Opposition Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Trudy Dean said: "It is a pathetic response. We said at the time that it was a ludicrous way of doing it.
"They [KCC] produced a 31-page document which, even if you did plough through it, did not contain enough information for people to answer the questions they asked."
Cllr John Simmonds, KCC cabinet member for finance, said he was disappointed - but explaining the complexities of a £2bn budget was difficult.
"Yes, it is disappointing that more people did not respond but it was still a worthwhile exercise and was the most comprehensive consultation we have done.
"We will look at what we could do better for next time. It is very difficult to get across to people how we spend £2bn."
A report due to be presented to KCC's cabinet on Monday reveals that over the eight weeks, there were 298 online responses, 105 written responses and just 23 e-mails and other letters.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating!
PLUS, register for free!.
Read our pick of the best holiday destinations. Whether its a weekend break, or something a little bit longer, we have reviewed a wide range of holidays.