OPINION Councillor Kay Cutts: We could be much more powerful by speaking as one

The Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council is urging people in Gedling borough to have say on unitary council plans

PICTURED: Cllr Kay Cutts

This week sees the start of our public engagement work about changes to the way local government is provided in our area – a really important debate we hope you will take part in.

You will have seen a lot of information recently about severe financial pressures facing councils across the country and how, locally, we are considering changes to how services are provided so we can afford to keep running them.

In Nottinghamshire, our main source of Government funding has fallen by £120m since 2013/14, at a time when demand for services – especially social care – has increased considerably.

Despite the Council saving over £270m in the last few years, under different political leaderships, we still face a budget gap of £54m. We have exhausted options to make the savings we need and without fundamental change we face the prospect of huge cuts to frontline services and increasing council tax, year-on-year.

We believe a reorganisation of local government is the only alternative.

Wherever you live in Nottinghamshire, you have at least two councils – the County Council and one of seven District or Borough Councils.

Your County Council provides most services, spending 91% of local government funding for the area, including social care for older and disabled people, care for vulnerable children, education, highways, transport, country parks, trading standards, economic regeneration, refuse disposal and recycling, some planning and libraries.

Your district or borough council provides services such as refuse collection, street cleaning, leisure centres, social housing, local parks and some planning.

It stands to reason that services like refuse collection and refuse disposal, social care and social housing, trading standards and environmental health and the whole planning function could be run much more effectively under one roof.

Because you have two Councils, it means you pay for two Chief Executives, two management teams, two sets of councillors, two council headquarters and all the associated bureaucracy of running large, multi-functional public bodies – twice. And there is a disparity in the services you get – and how much you pay for them – depending on where you live in the county.

It stands to reason that services like refuse collection and refuse disposal, social care and social housing, trading standards and environmental health and the whole planning function could be run much more effectively under one roof.

And we could be much more powerful by speaking as one when we are trying to attract the funding for economic growth our area needs.

Starting this week – and running throughout October – we are asking your views on the future of local government in Nottinghamshire.

We will also be talking to local stakeholders, from businesses and voluntary organisations to parish and town councils, to gain their initial views and thoughts.

An impartial, independent company is leading this work and will report back with your views as we consider all the evidence to develop a preferred choice for councillors to consider in December.

I would urge you to read the background information and complete the questionnaire online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/futurenotts  or at your local library and share your views.

2 Comments

  1. This is purely an ego trip and a power grab.
    Any savings over many years will be used up partly in financing this com and then in the costs of restructuring.
    Local decisions need to be made locally by the District and Borough Councils. How could a County Councillor for a division in Rushcliffe make a sensible Planning decision about a property in Worksop. Similarly how could a Licencing application in Newark be meaningfully reviewed by a Councillor from the North of Nottinghamshire.

    Keep the status quo.Keep decision making and services local.

    If this idea had any real value, all decisions would be centralised to London.

  2. This is purely an ego trip and a power grab.
    Any savings over many years will be used up partly in financing this con and then in the costs of restructuring.
    Local decisions need to be made locally by the District and Borough Councils. How could a County Councillor for a division in Rushcliffe make a sensible Planning decision about a property in Worksop. Similarly how could a Licencing application in Newark be meaningfully reviewed by a Councillor from the North of Nottinghamshire.

    Keep the status quo.Keep decision making and services local.

    If this idea had any real value, all decisions would be centralised to London.

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