National and Devolved Politics

04.12.17

Javid minded to approve Somerset councils’ merger

A proposal to merge two Somerset councils has received initial approval from the secretary for communities and local government.

Sajid Javid said he was “minded to” implement the locally led merger between Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council, in Somerset.

The secretary of state said the plans – which propose to create a single district council – were in line with the criteria he has previously set out for these situations.

“I am satisfied, on the basis of the information currently available to me, that each of these proposals fully meets the criteria that I told the House on 7 November 2017 I would use for assessing proposals for merging district councils,” Javid explained.

There are three conditions that must be met for these mergers to receive approval, including reassurances that change will improve local government in the areas concerned.

Javid has also said the plans have to receive local support with all the councils which could be merged being involved in the proposal, adding that the authorities involved are in geographically adjacent areas which can correctly facilitate the combination of services.

In a joint statement between the leaders of both councils, Cllr John Williams (Taunton Deane) and Cllr Anthony Trollope-Bellew (West Somerset) said they “welcomed the secretary’s announcement.”

“We have the support of partners, other councils in Somerset, key players in business and the voluntary sector – all play a vital part in the life of our two areas,” they commented.

“Our proposal will deliver further savings, service improvements and resilience, stronger leadership and improved local governance. Ultimately, it will deliver financially viable local government services in our area in the future.

“This new council will make sure we can continue to deliver the services that our residents value, allowing us to focus on boosting our economy, supporting the delivery of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station and fully embracing the opportunity afforded by Garden Town status awarded to Taunton.”

Initially, the merger was also expected to include Sedgemoor District Council, but councillors decided not to join with the plans because they felt they had been given too little time to consider the business case.

This left Taunton Deane and West Somerset to finalise plans in September last year, with both councils looking to shorten funding gaps totalling more than £3m by 2021-22. They expect a merger of this sort to save around the same amount of money through combining services and improving economies of scale.

Javid revealed that there would be a period between now and 19 January 2018 which would be set aside for the government to receive modifications on the implementation of the plans.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

China ban adds £500,000 in recycling contamination costs to councils

22/10/2018China ban adds £500,000 in recycling contamination costs to councils

Tighter recycling contamination restrictions in the wake of China’s imported waste ban have directly hit at least a fifth of councils, the ... more >
New disqualification rules for people guilty of serious crimes serving in councils

22/10/2018New disqualification rules for people guilty of serious crimes serving in councils

Rules preventing people found guilty of serious crimes from serving on local councils will be strengthened after a public consultation, the gover... more >
Council warns of 28% rise in council tax or mass job cuts needed to deliver services

22/10/2018Council warns of 28% rise in council tax or mass job cuts needed to deliver services

Pembrokeshire is facing the prospect of a 28% rise in council tax or extensive job cuts to meet services after several warnings about the county ... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
500 jobs could go as city council eyes 5% tax hike to tackle £28m deficit

11/10/2018500 jobs could go as city council eyes 5% tax hike to tackle £28m deficit

Up to 500 jobs are at risk at Wolverhampton and residents face a council tax rise of 4.99% in what has been described as “the most significant financial challenge the council has ever faced... more >
Government removes intervention in Tower Hamlets LBC

05/10/2018Government removes intervention in Tower Hamlets LBC

James Brokenshire has formally ended the government’s intervention in Tower Hamlets London Borough Council following “significant improvements” in a recent review. The Mini... more >

the raven's daily blog

The council of the future

22/10/2018The council of the future

Georgina Maratheftis, programme manager for local government at techUK, paints a picture of what the council of the future could look like – and just how we might get there. It’s a universally acknowledged truth that local government continues to face financial constraints whilst still having to deliver lots of services and me... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Making good health a reality in Wigan

22/10/2018Making good health a reality in Wigan

Wigan Borough Council is leading the way with its innovative approach to integrated health and care. We hear from the Healthier Wigan Partnership... more >
Knowledge Quarter: the pieces of the jigsaw

22/10/2018Knowledge Quarter: the pieces of the jigsaw

Liverpool already boasts the best in class when it comes to innovation – but no city can rest on its laurels. Joe Anderson, the city’... more >
LGiU: Local government in Finland

22/10/2018LGiU: Local government in Finland

Finland’s local government structure is going through a set of reforms as municipalities across the small Nordic nation continue to merge. ... more >
The doors of the powerhouse are open once again

22/10/2018The doors of the powerhouse are open once again

Now in its second year, the People’s Powerhouse Conference promises to celebrate achievements and find new solutions to ensure better lives... more >

interviews

Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >
Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

06/08/2018Michael King: Time for Ombudsman reform

Michael King first joined the Local Government Ombudsman service back in 2004 as deputy ombudsman. At the start of 2017, he was appointed as the ... more >
Helping a city understand itself

06/08/2018Helping a city understand itself

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The urban landscape is changing. How can local authorities keep up with citizen behaviour? Stephen Leece, managing directo... more >
Modern policing: the future is bright

06/08/2018Modern policing: the future is bright

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The public sector, and policing in particular, has often been criticised as being slow to adapt to change. But now, says L... more >

public sector focus

View all News