one council better for residents?
Study to be carried out into a unitary authority for Bucks Services simplified and ‘significant cost-savings’ made
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.