Interviews

05.09.18

Nottinghamshire considers unitary shake-up proposals in a bid to balance books

Nottinghamshire County Council is considering proposals to scrap its current two-tier structure for a new unitary system in order to save on costs.

Senior politicians will meet at County Hall on 6 September for the first of a series of cross-party meetings to consider the reorganisation, potentially paving the way for a large shake-up in local government for the county.

They will begin detailed financial analysis of the options available for the council services in Nottinghamshire in addition to focus groups and stakeholder consultation, before a report is submitted to the full council in December.

The public will be consulted early next year before a final decision is made in May— but the plans could lead to up to £28m in savings.

Councillor Kay Cutts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: "we must change if services are to survive."

She explained: “We believe that there is a pressing case for change in the way local government is organised in Nottinghamshire to deliver significant savings and to improve the quality of service local people will receive.

"We are faced with significant financial challenges and the need to live within our means, so it is only right that we do our bit to eliminate waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency in the provision of local government services."

The total cost of the plans is expected to be at least £270,000 to draw up; although the County Council say this represents just a fraction of the potential savings the local government reorganisation could deliver.

Cllr Cutts added: “It stands to reason that we can make the biggest savings in our management structures, the use and number of public buildings and improve our buying power with businesses by creating one unitary council for Nottinghamshire.

"By having one senior management team, one council headquarters, one website and one contact phone number we can make significant savings and improve the quality of the services we offer."

She noted that the working group will scrutinise the evidence for an against all options available, including a single unitary council and various options for two unitary councils covering the county.

Councillors at the cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council voted last week in favour of proposals to create a unitary authority.

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Image credit: yorkfoto

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