Updated: Oct 25
On Thursday 5th of October Peterborough City Council’s Head of Communications, Amanda Rose visited UCP to talk to us about the council’s budget simulator.
Peterborough’s citizens are being asked to give their opinion on how the local council should spend its budget in the upcoming financial year.
The budget simulator is an interactive tool launched with the idea of including the citizens of peterborough in the difficult decision making process of the council’s budget allocations.
Within the simulator you can find a list of all the different services the council provides, along with an accompanying description of the service. It then asks you to increase or decrease funding for each area in order to meet the budget target.
Amanda told us how the simulator came as a result of the “extremely difficult” challenge to engage people with the council’s budget.
“To most people the council’s finances are dull and it’s hard to make them sexy or interesting.” Amanda added. The budget simulator has been branded the ‘challenge’ as the council strives to entice interest by adding a “gaming aspect to the council’s finances.”
“The overriding challenge is to cut the budget by £5.1 million” Amanda explained. The need to reduce the budget has come from inflation and other pressures in the economy creating a 0.5 million pound gap in the budget.
The simulator hopes to gather feedback to help close this gap.
This is the second year the council has run the simulator and are already seeing a growth in responses compared to last year. In 2022 they had around 200 responses, with 3 more weeks before the simulation closes, they have gathered 250 responses, surpassing last year's results.
When asked about the goal for this year’s responses Amanda said she hopes to reach 500 responses but “with a city with a population of more than 200,000 people I would love to get 10% of that. I would love to get 2000 responses in order for it to be anywhere near representative.”
Amanda urged listeners to “put themselves in the driver's seat when it comes to our budget.”
You can find out more about the budget simulator and take part in the challenge on the Peterborough City Council website:
You can also listen to the full interview on Inside the Box Radio, stream anytime on Mixcloud.