Entries have opened in the competition for bright ideas to boost Brighton and Hove City Council’s coffers as politicians and officials wrestle with the need to make millions of pounds of cuts.
Council leader Warren Morgan said that he was launching the City Innovation Challenge to try to harness the talents of the local population.
He wants residents, businesses and community groups to come up with innovative ideas to save money, generate income to fund services or bring a benefit to neighbourhoods or communities.
Councillor Morgan said: “I’m looking for bold and creative suggestions as to how the city council can bring in new revenue to fund services and invest in our city and its communities.
“I know that there is the talent, imagination and innovation in this city to overcome the challenges we face and find new ways of making Brighton and Hove better.
“The council is already innovating, making savings and adapting to delivering services in a different way and this challenge seeks to take things further.
“Our Libraries Extra trial is a good example of this. Through this trial, registered library users in Woodingdean and Portslade can use their local library outside the regular opening hours when they can browse the shelves, borrow books and use the computers without any staff being present.”
The City Innovation Challenges asks residents, businesses and community groups for ideas and the best ideas could win a cash prize of £1,000. The five £1,000 prizes are sponsored by other organisations.
The council said that it was facing unprecedented cuts in funding from government. As a result it was looking hard at the services that it provided.
The council needs to save about £68 million over four years and the budget proposals for 2016-17 outline its initial savings plans.
There are five categories for entries
- young people
- community and voluntary groups
- council staff
Chris Farthing, from the Hove business management consultancy Advice Cloud, said: “We are delighted to sponsor the business award of the challenge.
“It’s a tough environment for public services at the moment and if this challenge can encourage our businesses to get involved, then the whole city could benefit.
“I’m sure that there are lots of brilliant ideas out there.”
The competition closes on Friday 19 February. The sponsors include Advice Cloud, Brighton and Hove Buses, Entrepreneurial Spark (NatWest and RBS), the Hilton Brighton Metropole, Sussex University and Midnight Communications.
Ideas will be considered by a judging panel and prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in the spring.
The council said: “The winning ideas will be taken up and implemented alongside the recommendations of the independent Fairness Commission.”
More details and how to enter can be found at brighton-hove.gov.uk/innovation.