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Questions over Norfolk County Council’s Big Conversation

PUBLISHED: 15:10 29 June 2011

Questions were raised yesterday about the effectiveness of Norfolk County Council’s Big Conversation and whether the public had been left in the dark over some of the more contentious cuts proposals.

Members of the council’s scrutiny committee ran the rule over the £60,000 process which was aimed at giving the public a say on a raft of cuts aimed at bridging a £155m gap over the next three years while also looking at how the council should deliver services in future.

The council received more than 9,000 responses to the consultation.

But Green councillor Richard Bearman said details of some contentious plans had not become clear until very late in the process.

“A lot of the information was too broad brush and not focused enough on specific information. Some cuts such as the closure of the Unthank Centre were either added later or were not visible at all,” he said.

Committee chairman Paul Morse said he was worried the views of young people had not been fairly reflected, while he said some parish councils were confused about ideas to get them to take over some services.

James Carswell, cabinet member for communications, said the Big Conversation was the beginning of a process and the authority was working closely on more detailed proposals with those most affected.


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