Thursday, 26 July 2007

SCC take over Shropshire?

News on Telly last night Shropshire will have a unitary authority - you may not think this important but arts orgs including VAN have had far more support from local authorities ie Dom at SABC than they have ever had from SCC. I post the news from the SCC website below

From the SCC websiteThe leaders of Shropshire County Council and Oswestry Borough Council have welcomed the Government’s decision to implement the joint One Council for Shropshire proposal.Malcolm Pate, Leader of Shropshire County Council, said: “I am very pleased at this decision, having long believed that our One Council proposal offers a great deal for Shropshire people. We have shown in our proposal that by merging Shropshire’s six main councils into one we can deliver even better value for money, at the same time as fairer and more joined-up services. This go-ahead from Government means that they also believe we can achieve this."“Now that we’ve got the go-ahead, it’s very important that everyone involved in the re-organisation gets round the table together. We need to have on board the talented and committed staff we have in all our councils. And we must make sure, working together, that we make the very most of this opportunity to get the best outcomes for Shropshire people,”David Lloyd, Leader of Oswestry Borough Council, said: “This announcement finally clears the uncertainty that has surrounded this issue over recent months and will enable all councils in Shropshire to play their full part in shaping the future governance of the county."“We are proud of the way we deliver excellent and affordable services for local people but we can do even better. Bringing everything together in one effective and efficient organisation will provide the key to further improvement,”Following Government’s decision to implement the One Council proposal, elections for a new unitary council – replacing the current county, borough and district councils – will be held next May.


Martin said...

But the BBC News says this

Unitary authority deferral hopes
The government has been urged to defer decisions on whether councils in the UK should become unitary authorities.
Shrewsbury and Atcham Council leader Peter Nutting said they should be deferred until a judicial review is held into the plans for Shropshire.

The council's challenge will be heard by the High Court on 12 and 13 September.

The government had been due to announce which of the 16 bids would go forward to the next stage in July.

'Unfair and unbalanced'

If the Shropshire plan is approved, the county's five district or borough councils would disappear.

Shrewsbury and Atcham Council says it is challenging the process on the grounds that the government does not have the power to undertake the review and that the review has been unfair and unbalanced.

In previous local consultations Shropshire County Council, Oswestry Borough Council and South Shropshire District Council supported the move to have one council.

Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council, North Shropshire District Council and Bridgnorth District Council opposed it.

Andrew Howe said...

This isn't about Shropshire County Council "taking over" its about the formation of a single unitary council which will be more efficient in England's most sparsely populated county. There are already good examples of the county's individual councils working together in unified partnerships and the new unitary status will facilitate this way of working. Inevitably being the largest authority, SCC will have a greater influence in the new council, but all areas will be involved. SABC has been consistently obstructive on various service areas which ultimately has cost the Shropshire taxpayers.

Martin said...

It has certainly felt like a take over with plenty of councils north and south against it. I look on Shropshire as a diverse place and many areas have a distinctiveness. I have little experience of unitary authorities and I understand the principles of cutting costs - put my experience of councils cutting costs is that the arts budget is the first to go - especially in the rural areas. Why was there a unanimous unease about the prospect at a recent meeting of arts organisations? I do hope its misplaced but whatever we will go into it as an opportunity and see what it brings.