We always knew that our three-month consultation on the future of the borough’s cultural services would be emotive. Many people care passionately about their libraries and archives, parks and open spaces, sports, arts and heritage. Many are already deeply involved in activities that take place in these facilities.
Having to reduce the cultural services budget by around 40 per cent (or £4m) was never going to be easy. After all, these are services that we can all use. However, we need to remember that some of the devastating cuts to the Council budget are less obvious – they are affecting individual care packages, childcare and services to the elderly.
I’d like to thank everyone who took part and I was inspired by the mature conversations that took place on the impact of these cuts, what we could do differently and how we work with communities to take the cuts in the best way possible for Lambeth residents.
Hundreds of local people got involved. We’ve received over 200 written submissions from individuals and organisations and around 1,700 questionnaire responses. We also sought the views of 500 residents on the streets of Lambeth, held nine focus group sessions, seven public events, and asked schools to help us to hear from over 400 young people.
I am now carefully considering all of these comments and suggestions, asking for clarification or undertaking further investigation where necessary. Shortly, we expect to publish a report based on this consultation, which will then be discussed at Cabinet where decisions will be made. Currently, we anticipate that this will be in July.