Consultation on a new unitary council for Nottinghamshire

Councillors in Nottinghamshire are set to decide whether to press ahead with a formal public consultation on plans to create a new unitary authority which could deliver annual savings of £27 million on the current two-tier system.

If the plan goes ahed, the current two-tier system of a county council and seven district and borough councils serving Nottinghamshire would be replaced by one new council covering the whole area.

The council suggests that such local government reorganisation in the area would be best placed to deliver five key aims: a stronger local voice for residents; a single, strategic voice speaking up for the area; a more prosperous Nottinghamshire; improved health and wellbeing for local communities; and better services, drawing on best practice from all current authorities in the county.

Although the estimated cost of setting up the new authority would be £19 million, the the proposal shows that the change would save £27 million per year in running costs through reductions in senior management positions, support services, the overall number of councillors, the amount spent on elections and buildings and by aligning similar services.

Kay Cutts, leader of the council, said: “All local authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, plus 55 areas of England are unitary councils. And while a growing number of two-tier areas are exploring options to follow suit, no unitary authorities are contemplating bringing in another, unnecessary layer of local government, with the additional bureaucracy that goes with it.

“Over the last five years, councils in Nottinghamshire have seen a £120 million reduction in their main source of government funding, at a time when there is increasing demand on services with population growth and an increasing need of older people requiring care. Aside from addressing the financial climate Nottinghamshire councils are operating within, the study shows that a unitary authority could deliver significant improvements to services, blending best practice from all eight councils to ensure you receive access to the highest quality services, regardless of where you live in Nottinghamshire.

“The Outline Case for Change document is a detailed, reasoned assessment of the current challenges facing local government in Nottinghamshire and offers an opportunity to significantly improve our ability to grow the local economy and deliver better outcomes for all our residents. I hope members of the council will join me in progressing these proposals to the next stage and give local people the opportunity to give their views on our vision for 21st century local government services for Nottinghamshire, a place which is vibrant and inclusive, aspirational and ambitious.”

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