Chelmsford City Council Budget Shortfall from Pandemic: Video

Short video to explain local government finances to highlight how lockdown has caused funding shortfalls.


Local Authorities have been greatly impacted by the Coronavirus, both in their services and operations, however the financial impact will be felt for a long time. With lockdown forcing leisure centres to close, car parks to stop charging and the high street to shut its doors councils have lost major income streams. Chelmsford City Council has created a short video to explain local government finances to highlight how lockdown has caused funding shortfalls.

Cllr Goldman, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Connected Chelmsford, and Louise Goodwin, Director of Connected Chelmsford, had the idea of creating a short animation to simply explain how local government finances work – what money comes in and goes out, and what happens when the money stops coming in (as has happened during the current pandemic!). They proposed using the animation software, or if that wasn’t feasible, to outsource the project to a designer.

As a newcomer to the communications team, Charlotte Maltby was approached to investigate the possibilities for the project. Charlotte used Vyond to see if it could create the type of story-telling animation that the council were looking for. Despite not having any previous animation skills, Charlotte was confident the software was straightforward enough to use and that the council would be able to produce something good. Charlotte created a storyboard and set to work making the animation.

Over the coming weeks, with feedback from Cllr Goldman, Ali Naqvi, Marketing and Customer Services Manager, and the wider communications team, they continued revising the animation until they were happy that the explanation of council finances was in simple and easy to understand language. They were conscious that there were a number of potential different audiences for the video, for example, residents and MPs, and therefore the call to action needed to be suitable for all. They considered making versions of the video with different calls to actions depending on where the animation would be used but decided the end of the video was balanced enough to suit all audiences.