The District Councils’ Network has responded to a report that outlines the problems that come with merging councils into huge unitary bodies.
The report, titled Bigger is not better, the case for keeping ‘local’ government, warns that local councils could cease to exist I proposed plans go ahead to form larger councils under unitary bodies.
Professors from De Montfort University have put together the report, which provides a rigorous assessment of over 300 pieces of independent research from around the world and came to the conclusion that not only do larger councils lead to failing public trust in local government, but also that the “size of councils does not make a difference in quality or efficiency of services”.
The DCN is warning that now is not the time to reorganise local government which may defer from efforts to control Covid-19 and also reboot local economies.
Chairman of the District Councils’ Network, Cllr John Fuller OBE, said:
“COVID-19 has shown that bigger or cheaper local government is not better local government, and as this revealing report shows, larger councils would wipe local government as we know it off the map altogether.
“Devolution has to be about decisions being taken at the level closest to the people affected by those decisions, not centralising them into administrations with populations way over a million people, and across geographies almost as large as Northern Ireland.
“Right now, in the midst of an international health and economic crisis, we must be focused on recovery, not reorganisation.”