Each year, Aberdeenshire Council carries out a consultation on budget plans.
It is an essential part of local democracy, ensuring that the voice of communities comes through in any and all budget setting decisions.
This year, the local authority has launched a brand new approach, in order to try to simplify and illustrate the challenges faced.
In place of traditional surveys and written text, the team has developed a suite of infographics, each of which paints a different picture of a different part of council budget setting. For example, there is a section on the pressures that councils are under, one which focuses on council tax, and one which lays out some of the future opportunities.
Attached to each infographic is a short set of questions, in some cases just two questions, to give people the opportunity to make their voices heard.
The engagement process is open now and will close at the start of January, giving enough time for the results to be passed to councillors who, in turn, will use them to inform their decision making for the coming financial year.
All the infographics and associated questions can be found at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/budgetengagement
Surveys are all open now and will close on January 3, with reports submitted to elected members in January to give them time to consider all views in time for the budget setting in February.
Council Co-leader Cllr Richard Thomson said: “It is important for us to embark upon our budget setting discussions with our eyes open. To get a feel for what people in our communities want and need from us, and to make sure they feel empowered to know what they can do for themselves. We want to maintain high quality public services while at the same time making sure we are as efficient as possible.
"We also want to minimise the impact any reductions have on residents and service-users.
“The views you share will help us as we come together as a council to debate how to make the best use of the funding available to us, and we value the feedback.”