Latest Public Sector News

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 >

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 open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Inspiring leadership in social value

15/10/2018Inspiring leadership in social value

We have learned a lot since the last National Social Value Conference, with... more >
Is fair funding possible, or pie in the sky?

15/10/2018Is fair funding possible, or pie in the sky?

David Phillips, associate director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, dis... 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 c... more >

the raven's daily blog

What cities should become

15/10/2018What cities should become

Tom Leaver, project manager at Future Cities Catapult, examines the rationale behind the creation of the City Data Sharing Toolkit, and explores how this is driving a seismic ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

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 feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >