So, if 2/3rds residents don't want to use a library nobody else will be able to afford to use one. Fine if we are to stop reading, of course it will put authors out of work and cut the reading for our children. . . . .
Andrew Summers - Hereford
Without knowing the specifics of what we can choose from and how much it will cost, it's difficult to say whether or not this is good. If the current council tax rate drops and then we get to choose what to spend the 'savings' on then it will be a good start. If the rates stay the same and then we have to pay extra then it's not a good idea.
Angela Walker - Barnet
The idea that government departments at both central and local level provide basic provision and leave the public to spend its own money as it sees fit will become increasingly attractive. The problem will be that seemingly 80% of the funds are spent on 20% of the population whilst the other 80% who pay the most income and council tax receive perhaps 20% of the benefit. Whilst we all at some point use schools and roads and we might see benefit from waste, recycling, planning and library services, very few people in some areas use housing or social services. The difficult choice will be to cut these services that many can do without but that are vital to others
Isambard - Brunel
Banks, travel agents and budget airlines are interesting choices for analogies. Banks pick and choose their customers ruthlessly (try opening a basic bank account), travel agents are dying out because of the internet and the budget airline model is looking increasingly tarnished. Barnet is none-the-less to be applauded for attacking a service model well past its sell by date.
Why is it so hard to obtain good service from Local Authorities? Because like too much of government it is a monopoly provider. Real choice is the ability to choose between service providers; the more we can do that without needing a local authority to agregate demand and over-manage us, the better. On reflection, the more Local Authorities resemble travel agents, the happier I will be!
Fedupwithgovernment - London UK
There is a serious risk of services dying out because everybody has a different idea of prioities - for instance why pay for street lights in a village when the majority of people drive everywhere and therefore do not need street lights. Never mind the children that have to walk to school by torchlight.
I am totally in favour of greater choice and flexibility in providing personal services to suit the person but not as a mechanism to cut costs. That is denagerous and many of our residents, both able and vulnerable will lose out. Within the major budget headings there is little room for individual personalisation that could save large sums of money but plenty of room for efficiency measures.
Ron Edwards - Fife councillor
Guitar lessons might be more fulfilling for a young person, but will it have the same long-term benefits to his mental health as cognitive therapy?
Anneka - Cambridgeshire
It's sounds plausible at first glance - but the more the idea of providing public service is eroded in favour of profit/choice based "business models", the less is actually achievable. Local Govt is funded for the whole community and "choice" has to be constrained by the amount of budget and legislative requiremenr that needs to be fulfilled. Local Authorities are not "free" to be businesses in the commercial sense, but should nonetheless offer as much service access options as they can. I agree with Ron Edwards comments.
Sector worker - Norfolk