Consultation and communication
We recognise that the charges it makes to users of its services will have an impact on those users.
Information will be obtained in relation to the following areas in order to properly understand how charges affect users of services and their views regarding charges made or proposed to be made:
- opinions as to the appropriateness of levying a charge
- opinions as to the correct level of charges to be made
- whether any particular classes of users will have difficulty affording the charges or feel that it is unfair to make a charge to them
- how particular levels of charge will affect demand for services, i.e. either encourage the use of services or discourage particular activities
- whether users feel that the service and the charges made for it represent value for money
- whether users would be prepared to pay a higher charge for an improved service
This information may be obtained as part of general surveys, by using the e-Panel, specific surveys or by any other means which will be likely to provide a representative indication of user views or of the impact of charges upon them.
Our scale of fees and charges will be publicised via the relevant Cabinet agenda when it is reviewed annually and made available on its internet site and will be subject to scrutiny by the relevant scrutiny committees. Charges relating to specific services will be displayed or made available at service delivery points and from time to time in promotional material. Some commercially sensitive charges will, however, not be subject to such widespread publicity. At this time this only applies to trade waste charges.
Appropriate measures will be employed to ensure that our charging objectives are clearly communicated to the public.
Where there is a legal requirement to consult service users or to give them a prescribed period of notice before applying a change in charges this will be done in accordance with any statutory provisions and in line with our own procedures and consultation.