Merton Council is calling on residents for their views on how best to deliver a successful and financially sustainable adult education service in Merton.
The consultation starts today (17 November) and continues until 4 January 2015. Residents are encouraged to complete the online consultation. Paper copies will be available in Merton’s libraries, adult education sites and in other prominent locations later this month.
The council will host two meetings for residents on 2 December;the first at 2pm and the later one will be at 7pm in the council chamber of the Civic Centre. The public meetings will give residents the opportunity to talk to cabinet member for education Councillor Martin Whelton and director of the community and housing department, Simon Williams, about the options for the future of the service.
In the face of significant cuts to government funding, the council is having to make £32m in savings over the next four years. The council is committed to maintaining an adult learning service in Merton. It has ruled out stopping the service and announced its preferred option at cabinet last week (10 November) to agree to become a commissioner of adult education services. This would see the council agreeing a contract with other education providers to deliver adult learning in the borough on the council’s behalf. The council will, however, consult with residents on a wide number of options.
All contributions to this consultation will be fed into a report on the findings of the consultation which will go to the January cabinet for a decision. No decision will be made until the consultation has concluded and Cabinet has considered the opinions of the respondents.
Merton Council cabinet member for education Councillor Martin Whelton said: “We are going through tough times as we need to make savings of £32 million over the next four years. We need to ensure tax payers in Merton are getting value for money for the services we provide and we need to find new ways of delivering our services. We’re committed to continuing adult learning in the borough, but there will inevitably be changes to the way it is delivered. As a cabinet, we have agreed that children’s services and adult social care should bear less of a share of the cuts to funding. If we just carry on as we are, and steer away from these difficult decisions, other vital services will be affected. We welcome people’s ideas about new and innovative ways in which we could deliver financially resilient adult learning in the future.”