William Eichler 06 September 2016

MP calls for overhaul of Britain’s ‘faltering local government system’

MP calls for overhaul of Britain’s ‘faltering local government system’ image

A backbench Tory MP has called for the abolition of district councils ahead of a Westminster debate on England’s local authorities.

A new report by the MP for Elmet and Rothwell, Alec Shelbrooke, proposes ‘eradicating’ the combination of county councils and district councils and replacing them with single-tier unitary councils.

The report, titled A Future for Local Government in England, also recommends the introduction of five year fixed-terms for councillors which, Mr Shelbrooke argued, would save £46m per year because of a reduction in the number of elections.

Mr Shelbrooke’s plans for a radical overhaul of local government also include proposals for the equalisation of ward sizes and for the reduction in the amount of councillors.

This last reform would involve the professionlisation of the role with a salary attached and delivering an estimated saving of £24m per year.

‘My report sets out an approach to overhaul the complexity and inefficiency of Britain’s faltering local government system; the result of a number of piecemeal reforms that have papered over the cracks that can be seen today,’ Mr Shelbrooke MP said.

‘Most importantly, starting the system anew would allow the largest ever power shift of direct accountability to the electorate, providing a clear and precise understanding of who is responsible for the decisions which affect their lives.’

Responding to the report, Cllr Neil Clarke MBE, chairman of the District Councils’ Network (DCN) said: ‘Districts are the form of local government closest to their communities and provide the building blocks for place-based approaches required for public sector reform.’

‘Some District Clusters which are already collaborating extensively may consider unitarisation as the next logical step, but this should be for local areas to determine,’ he said.

‘It is essential that any proposals are agreed by all the relevant local authorities as I am sure district councils would form the building blocks for any potential unitary arrangement.’

‘District councils and district council clusters are committed to playing an active part in discussions regarding the formation of unitaries to ensure that any new structures deliver better outcomes for the people and places, whilst ensuring that any local government reorganisation does not distract from vital service delivery,’ Cllr Clarke added.

The report comes as four district councils in Buckinghamshire announce they have commissioned Deloitte to carry out an independent review of local government structures in the county. Visit The MJ for more on this story.

Mobilising the social care workforce image

Mobilising the social care workforce

A continued drive towards more mobile public services is needed to help overcome social care challenges in the bleak winter months, says David McKinney.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - Children in Care

Essex County Council
£30906 - £42254 per annum + + Free on site parking & Benefits Package
Social Worker - Children in CarePermanent Full Time£30,906 to £42,254 per annum plus free on site parkingLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Experienced Social Worker

Northumberland County Council
£32,029 - £35,934
At Northumberland County Council we are proud of our employees, who are... Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Social Worker

Northumberland County Council
£32,910
We are seeking suitably qualified experienced social workers with at least 2 years frontline Social Work experience who... Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Surveyor

Northumberland County Council
£28,672 - £32,234 per annum
We are looking for an enthusiastic and commercially aware surveyor to join us to undertake a range of interesting and challenging work. Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Senior Programme Officer (Transport)

Northumberland County Council
£32,910 - £36,922
As a Senior Programme Officer for strategic transport, you will play a pivotal role in shaping the strategic direction of transport policy for... Northumberland
Recuriter: Northumberland County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue