There are “basic failings” with th Perth and Kinross Council’s online budget survey tool being used for public feedback, according to a councillor.
Lib Dem Peter Barrett said the idea of the budget allocator is a good one, but said there was a “serious risk” of a disproportionate level of cuts being levied against older people services as a result of a programming error on the site.
The city centre representative echoed concerns the allocator was difficult to find on the council’s webpage, and said doubts should be cast over the value of the feedback.
Perth and Kinross residents have voiced concerns about problems accessing the allocator, and worried their voices would be unheard during the budget process.
More than £10 million worth of cuts to the council budget has been identified, which could possibly increase by the time the budget is finalised next year.
Peter Barrett said: “The idea of the allocator is a good one. It can give people some insight into the difficulties and tough choices that we face in implementing the severe cuts forced on the council by the Scottish Government.
“There are however basic failings with the council budget allocator starting with how easily it can be found. There should be a clear link to it from the council’s home page.
“I suspect a lot of people give up if searches of more than two clicks are required. Googling ‘PKC Council budget allocator’ is better, it gets you there in a couple of clicks.
He continued: “The graphical image on ‘How we spend our budget’ is quite good but then the quality of the page is spoiled by broken ‘explore’ and ‘zoom’ links.
“People trying to browse the site for information will be frustrated by these sorts of basic mistakes.”
“Once you get to the allocator the older peoples’ services section appears to be duplicated. The order of the first list of older peoples’ levels of savings is jumbled up, meaning people may select a deeper level of cut than they intended.
“Doubts must be cast on the value of the feedback as there is a serious risk that a disproportionate and deeper level of cuts to older peoples services will be the result of the errors in the allocator.”
A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Council said: “Following concerns about the duplication of one of the categories on the Budget Allocator survey, we can now confirm this issue has been fixed.
“We have identified the duplicated category and have removed it from the survey, these duplicate results will not feature in the final report. Thank you for alerting us to this fault.”