Torbay promotes viral budget ploy

Torbay Council has adopted a novel PR tool to encourage local people to get involved in the setting of local budgets.

It has become one of the latest councils to use a viral campaign, following authorities such as Westminster City Council.

Torbay's budget simulator computer game, created by software specialist Delib, aims to illustrate how budgets are set.

'People generally want to help their councils but they find the budget process confusing and often don't even understand the services,' said Delib director Chris Quigley.

The game is being sent to members of the council's 1,600-strong residents' panel. The authority intends to email the game to younger residents.

The game asks residents to set budgets for different services. The council plans to monitor how people set the budgets over the next three years and will promote the results to the local press .

Through November the council will target residents via a touring 'consultation caravan', asking for feedback on how councillors have prioritised budgets. The initiative is being headed by corporate consultation officer Hannah Toms.

Torbay's total budget for last year was £150m.

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