YouChoose is an online budget simulator that encourages members of the public to consider where council budget cuts should fall, where efficiencies might be made, and where income might be generated.

The tool was originally developed by the London Borough of Redbridge to engage its citizens in the difficult decisions that arise from budget reductions. In partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA), YouChoose is free to councils, fire and rescue services and authorities in England and Wales. A Welsh language version is available. This provides a tool to help councils engage their citizens in decisions about how they spend their revenue budgets and help their citizens understand the tough choices councils face.

As democratically-elected representatives, councillors make the final decisions, but this tool helps them hear directly from their residents.

The spending categories in the tool are:

  • community safety
  • council support and public engagement
  • culture and leisure
  • children's services and education
  • environment and waste
  • housing and homelessness
  • roads, planning and economy
  • adult social care.

However, the software can be individually tailored by councils.

The software will allow councillors, officers and the public to see the results as they come in. A number of graphical presentations are available instantly, for example, how the number of responses change over time and which are the spending categories most frequently selected for cuts. The data can also be downloaded for other sorts of analysis.

For further information, see the guide to YouChoose:

YouChoose: budget consultation guide (PDF, 5 pages, 203KB)

To acquire YouChoose for your council, please contact:

YouChoose support desk
ESD
youchoose@esd.org.uk

If you would like to try out the tool before you contact us, you can access a demonstrator version.

Please note that some of the fields, for example the consequences are blank, but you would be able to customise these to meet your local needs.