one coun­cil bet­ter for res­i­dents?

Study to be car­ried out into a uni­tary author­ity for Bucks Ser­vices sim­pli­fied and ‘sig­nif­i­cant cost-sav­ings’ made

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

COUNTY coun­cil cab­i­net mem­bers have backed plans for an in­de­pen­dent study into cre­at­ing one uni­tary author­ity in Bucks.

They gave the go-ahead to look at uni­tary op­tions at a meet­ing on Mon­day.

Mem­bers agreed that as well as de­tail­ing the fi­nances, it should also make clear how ser­vices would be de­liv­ered, how this would ben­e­fit peo­ple across the county and that col­lab­o­ra­tion and con­sul­ta­tion will be a cru­cial part of the process.

Leader of Bucks County Coun­cil, Martin Tett, said: “The busi­ness case the cab­i­net has agreed today to de­velop will show how a sin­gle uni­tary coun­cil would stream­line and sim­plify ser­vices for res­i­dents – some­thing that is long over­due and that res­i­dents cer­tainly tell us they want. Com­bined with the sig­nif­i­cant cost-sav­ings to be gained over the medium term from economies of scale, a sin­gle uni­tary coun­cil model is a com­pelling op­tion and one that should be ‘on the ta­ble’ for con­sid­er­a­tion.

“We’ve al­ready seen new types of coun­cils de­vel­oped in other parts of the coun­try and the ben­e­fits they have brought to res­i­dents, and it’s the right time now for Buck­ing­hamshire to con­sider its fu­ture.

“Col­lab­o­ra­tion is the key to the process of mod­ernising lo­cal gov­ern­ment and we want to work to­gether with all our part­ners – district coun­cils, town and parish coun­cils, busi­nesses, health and po­lice col­leagues and oth­ers.

“This will en­sure the great­est chance of a suc­cess­ful, re­silient and cus­tomer­fo­cused or­gan­i­sa­tion for the fu­ture.” Please turn to page 5

Chair­man of Buck­ing­hamshire Thames Val­ley Lo­cal En­ter­prise Part­ner­ship, An­drew M. Smith, wel­comed the de­ci­sion to look at the op­tions and to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the study.

“I am in no doubt the re­view will be sup­ported by the vast ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents, busi­nesses and key strate­gic stake­hold­ers who have a di­rect in­ter­est in the de­liv­ery of lo­cal ser­vices.”

But the lead­ers of Chiltern District Coun­cil and South Bucks District Coun­cil have is­sued a joint state­ment ar­gu­ing against the idea of a sin­gle uni­tary author­ity.

The state­ment reads: “It is dis­ap­point­ing that those who are most vo­cal about lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­or­gan­i­sa­tion con­tinue to pro­mote uni­tary author­i­ties when it is clear newer gov­er­nance mod­els, such as com­bined author­i­ties, of­fer po­ten­tially the same sav­ings with­out the cost and dis­rup­tion to ser­vices aris­ing from re­plac­ing the ex­ist­ing struc­tures.

“We think the debate would be bet­ter fo­cussed on wider re­form across the pub­lic sec­tor in Buck­ing­hamshire. “

The aim is to com­plete the busi­ness case in the next three months and for it to be ready to con­sider by cab­i­net from Septem­ber 2016.

Visit https://democ­racy. bu c k s c c . g ov. uk / do c u me nt s / s 7 9 4 6 3 / Op­tions%20for%20the%20 Fu­ture%20of%20Lo­cal%20 Gov­ern­ment%20in%20 Buck­ing­hamshire.pdf for more in­for­ma­tion.

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