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.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Social Worker - SGO & Connected Person Assessment Team

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Special Guardianship Order (SGO) & Connected Person Assessment Team The SGO and Connected Person's Assessment Team (North & Mid) first started in Apri England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Economy & Business Service Manager 

Harborough District Council
£49,350 to £52,368
Looking for an experienced manager who understands public sector responsibilities with the proven ability to deliver our ambitions. Market Harborough, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Harborough District Council

Head of Income and Financial Inclusion

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£48,800 - £66,000 per annum
You’ll have excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with a substantial track record of successful performance management. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Advanced Practitioner

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£33.600 - £45,400 per annum
Looking for an Advanced practitioner Social workers to join the Adult social services in the... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Adult Principle Social Worker

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£36,600 - £49,600 per annum
The successful candidate will be a passionate and skilled communicator with ability to work alongside operational Social Workers and... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue