Torquay town hall

Call for greater local government power from outgoing chief executive

Devon County Council’s outgoing Chief Executive has praised the ability of local government, as well as arguing the case of greater powers, in his farewell speech.

After almost 20 years in charge of Devon County Council, Dr Phil Norrey is retiring. With his time at the helm making him the longest-serving Chief Executive in the history of the council, he spoke to members of the council for the final time, putting emphasis on the ability of local government ad how powers should be increased:

“I firmly believe that people should determine what happens to their communities, how resources are allocated, what the priorities are with a mandate given to them by the local electorate.

“And actually, the role for central government in this country since the second world war has been one of aggregating powers unto itself and that process really needs to change. The world’s changed, it’s much more dynamic now, and all politics is local at the end of the day, isn’t it?

“But what I do know is that when that day comes; the culture, the foundation of this place will enable Devon County Council really to take advantage of that and to be the true leader it deserves to be. It is a leader, but it’s got its hands tied behind its back at the moment.”

Devon’s councils are currently in the midst of negotiations with the government to gain greater powers from Westminster, with the call for more power for local authorities growing louder by the month. Other areas of the country have seen drastic changes to the way that power is arranged in their local government, so could a major shift be on the horizon?

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