Nottinghamshire County Council yesterday announced that the process of local government reorganisation in Nottinghamshire is now underway.
Here, their leader, Councillor Kay Cutts gives her reasons for requesting to make a move to a unitary authority, which would spell the end for Gedling Borough Council….
I have written a letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government seeking a formal invitation to submit proposals.
This follows the recent letter to the Government from the seven borough and district councils and the city council which asked for an invitation “to develop alternative proposals to a single, County-wide unitary Council.”
Over the coming weeks, myself and other Members will keep you informed of our plans and why this is the right thing to do for the people of Nottinghamshire.
The current “two-tier” structure of county and district/borough councils no longer serves the interests of residents and taxpayers, which is why all councils agree on the need for change.
The current structure is both wasteful and confusing. Having eight separate council headquarters, executives, senior managers, and some duplicated back-office functions is unnecessary and costs too much. A unitary system of local government would end this duplication and waste, and free up money to be spent on improving and protecting services.
The time is right for change and we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify services, save more than £27m a year and improve the lives of Nottinghamshire residents.
The next steps include refreshing the strategic business case, which sets out the benefits of re-shaping local government in Nottinghamshire.
Local people will have the opportunity to give their views on our vision for 21st century local government services for this county, a place which is vibrant and inclusive, aspirational and ambitious.
In the weeks to come, we will demonstrate the challenges facing local government and how we could significantly improve our ability to grow the local economy and deliver better outcomes for all our residents by adopting unitary status.
Councils have faced many years of financial difficulties and we need to find ways of spending less without reducing services. It is even more important that we do this now, because COVID-19 has made the financial circumstances of councils in Nottinghamshire worse. We must find ways of making our money go further and therefore, reducing duplication and waste through unitary local government just makes sense.
We’re expecting the Government to make reorganisation a condition for the devolution of more funds and powers from national level. It is expected that they will do this through Combined Authorities, where several councils collaborate and make joint decisions. Nottinghamshire needs more investment for things like infrastructure, skills, transport and housing, particularly as we recover from the impact of COVID-19. It is expected that only unitary authorities will be able to be part of a Combined Authority – we don’t want Nottinghamshire to miss out and get left behind!
With leaders in Leicestershire and Derbyshire also working towards reform, we can unlock the possibility of a regional devolution deal by establishing a mayoral combined authority for the East Midlands, bolstering our ability to attract much-needed Government investment.
Doing nothing isn’t an option. Residents want easy access to effective, joined-up services – and to be able to shape decisions that affect their communities.
The current set up is bureaucratic, expensive and confusing, so we must put residents first and shake up the system.
Unitary government for Nottinghamshire is the right thing to do. Put simply ……It is better, simpler and saves taxpayers’ money.
More information can be found at: https://future.nottinghamshire.gov.uk