Unitary | LocalGov

Five unitaries moot devolution deal


A ‘non-binding expression of interest’ is expected to be submitted to the Government in February.

Sector unites in plea to chancellor


The local government sector in England has put out a call to Jeremy Hunt to ‘address the significant financial challenges faced by councils’.

Somerset declares ‘financial emergency’


Somerset Council has declared it is facing a ‘financial emergency’ and agreed that ‘urgent actions’ are required to tackle a £100m shortfall.

Peterborough leader loses confidence vote


Peterborough City Council has new political leadership after councillors voted to remove Conservative leader Wayne Fitzgerald.

Confidence vote risks ‘further government intervention’


The leader of Peterborough City Council has said a confidence motion in him will result in ‘major political instability’ and risks further intervention from the Government.

Prioritise social housing, Whitby tells North Yorkshire


Whitby Town Council is calling on the unitary authority of North Yorkshire to favour social housing developments over private building projects within Whitby’s parish boundaries.

Somerset in section 114 warning


Somerset Council is the latest authority to raise the prospect of a possible section 114 notice.

New unitary councils set to launch


New unitary councils being launched this weekend are planning to improve and develop services for their communities.

Lincolnshire districts back unitary idea


A partnership of three district councils has backed the idea of becoming a unitary to help secure a Lincolnshire-wide devolution deal.

Plans for new unitary council in Cumbria confirmed


The executive for the shadow authority for Cumberland Council have confirmed the implementation plan for the new local authority.

North Yorkshire councils’ spending limited ahead of new unitary authority


Michael Gove has issued a direction which restricts North Yorkshire councils from taking any big financial decisions before creation of the unitary authority.

Council devolution: how technology can enable a successful and seamless transition


Scott Goodwin explains how technology holds the key to unlocking a successful and seamless transition to a unitary model.

Cumbria drops legal challenge to reorganisation


Cumbria CC has decided to drop its legal challenge after losing its second High Court bid for a judicial review of local government reorganisation.

Cumbria council loses second bid to stop reorganisation


Cumbria CC is ‘considering its next steps’ after losing its second High Court bid for a judicial review of the decision to create two unitary authorities.

Cumbria continues legal battle against reorganisation


The county council is opposed to the Government’s decision to replace the county council and six district councils with two unitaries.

Jenrick announces unitary deals


North Yorkshire and Somerset County Councils have been given the go ahead to become single unitary councils, while Cumbria will be carved in two.

Controversial Somerset poll backs district plan


A controversial poll on reorganisation in Somerset has come out in favour of a district-based proposal.

Three councils back Bay unitary proposal


The newly elected leaders of three neighbouring councils have backed proposals for a new Bay unitary authority.

County rejects Bay Unitary proposal


Lancashire County Council has rejected proposals to create a new Bay Unitary Council.

County council chiefs welcome new Northamptonshire authorities


County council leaders have welcomed two new unitary authorities which officially came into existence today in Northamptonshire.

Consultation starts on restructuring local government in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset


A consultation on creating unitary authorities in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset has been announced today by the Government.

Basildon and Thurrock consider merger


Council leaders are drawing up a memorandum of understanding including the option of forming a South West Essex Council.

The Bay – a pivot to purpose


Tim Pope and Sam Plum explain why local government reorganisation can be used as a catalyst for a new generation of councils that reflect their local economies and can lead the recovery.

Reorganisation battle lines drawn over think-tank report


The bitter war of words between counties and districts over reorganisation stepped up this week as battle lines were drawn around a new think-tank report.

Three areas invited to submit unitary proposals


The Government has today invited councils in three areas to submit proposals for the creation of unitary local authorities by April 2023.

Somerset councils vote to establish two unitary authorities


District councils in Somerset have voted for a transformation plan that will see them replaced by two unitary authorities.

Countywide unitaries ‘could save £3bn’


Replacing two-tier counties with one unitary authority could deliver almost £3bn savings over five years, according to research published by the County Councils Network (CCN) today.

Three districts table Gloucestershire devolution proposals


Three of Gloucestershire’s district councils have proposed creating two unitary authorities in the county.

Call to scrap two-tier local government system in rural areas


The ‘confusing' two-tier model of local government should be abolished and replaced with single unitary councils, a report has argued today.

Ministers to receive Somerset unitary business case


A business case for a single Somerset unitary has been sent to communities secretary Robert Jenrick and local government minister Simon Clarke.

Reorganisation will deter potential councillors, report warns


Local government unitary reorganisation will slash the number of councillors and deter many from standing for election, a report for the District Councils’ Network (DCN) has warned.

Race for reorganisation gathers pace in Surrey and Somerset


The race towards reorganisation is gaining pace more plans emerging in Somerset and Surrey.

Hand health powers to elected mayors, says report


Health powers should be handed to elected mayors as part of a ‘rejuvenated and fortified wave of devolution,’ a think-tank report has suggested.

Launch of new Buckinghamshire Council


The new unitary authority for Buckinghamshire has been launched, bringing together five district and county councils.

Reorganisation fears overshadow devolution talks


Concerns over local government reorganisation are marring devolution talks in the north-west.

Lessons for digital change from the new unitaries


Some nine months on from the creation of two new unitary councils in Dorset, what have been the lessons learned from establishing a new organisation and implementing change programmes, especially digital change? Chief executives from councils in the South West discussed the issue at a recent round table debate in the New Forest hosted by The MJ and BT.

Borough seeking unitary status sparks spending row


A row over council spending has broken out between a county council and a borough authority that is seeking unitary status.

Northamptonshire unitaries to save £86m


Local government reorganisation in Northamptonshire will cost just over £40m, according to the early official estimates.

Reorganisation in Somerset would 'cut waste and save money'


A single, unitary authority for Somerset would deliver a predicted saving of £35-£47m, according to new research.

Minister confirms creation of Northamptonshire unitary authorities


The Government has confirmed that the legislation allowing for the creation of two unitary authorities in Northamptonshire will be in Parliament this autumn.

Buckinghamshire unitary authority deal concluded


The Government has passed the final piece of legislation required for the formation of a new unitary authority in Buckinghamshire.

Unitary council to adopt committee system of governance


Cheshire East Council is set to scrap its current system of decision making and adopt a committee system from 2020.

Delay to Northamptonshire reorganisation welcomed


Council leaders have welcomed the year-long delay to plans to create two new unitaries in Northamptonshire.

From jurassic to digital – the evolution of services


As the new Dorset unitaries get underway, the sea-change in structure is matched by the new wave of digital technology. Against this backdrop, a group of top council chiefs met at a BT/The MJ round table to look to the future.

Dorset’s achievement in a world transformed


Andrew Flockhart shows how officers and members throughout Dorset worked together – despite a host of challenges – to be ready for the transformation on 1 April from nine councils to two unitary authorities.

Third district joins legal action against Bucks unitary plan


A third council has announced it will be taking legal action against the proposed new unitary council for Buckinghamshire.

Buckinghamshire districts threaten legal action over unitary plan


Two Buckinghamshire districts have written to the Government warning they could launch legal proceedings over plans to create a single county unitary.

What will 2019 bring for local government?


Turbulent waters lie ahead in 2019, says Mark Whitehead, and councils will need to watch events carefully

2018 - the year things began to change


Geed up by a spirit of entrepreneurialism, councils up and down the land were busy exploring new ways to respond to their communities in 2018.

Nottinghamshire CC abandons reorganisation plan


Nottinghamshire County Council has decided to drop its reorganisation plans, which the leadership had hoped would save the authority millions each year.

Nottinghamshire considers unitary authority plans to save £27m per year


Nottinghamshire councillors will decide next week whether they wish to hold a consultation on plans to create a unitary authority to deliver savings.

Single unitary council for Bucks gets the go-ahead


Buckinghamshire’s five councils are to be scrapped in favour of a single county-wide unitary, communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced.

East Sussex councils consider unitary bid


Two local councils have had ‘informal’ discussions about breaking away from a struggling East Sussex County Council in response to an ongoing financial crisis.

Pared-down senior management would deliver 'significant savings' in Nottinghamshire


A single senior management team for a new Nottinghamshire unitary would deliver ‘significant savings’ and improve service quality, the county council’s leader has claimed.

Corby refuses to sign Northants unitary plans


Corby Borough Council has refused to sign up to Northamptonshire’s proposed local government overhaul.

Christchurch refused permission to appeal reorganisation judgement


Christchurch Borough Council has been refused leave to appeal the judgement about local government reorganisation.

Christchurch reorganisation challenge defeated


Christchurch BC may launch an appeal after a High Court judge today refused its challenge to local government reorganisation plans.

Nottinghamshire to develop formal case for unitary authority


Nottinghamshire County Council has agreed to develop a formal case for a new unitary authority, saying it could save up to £30m a year.

Parliament passes Dorset reorganisation plans


Dorset council leaders have welcomed Parliament’s decision to create two new unitary councils in the South Western county.

Council launches legal proceedings against Dorset reorganisation


Christchurch BC has launched a legal challenge to plans for a reorganisation of local government in Dorset.

Northampton unitary plan falls


The tight timeframe for reorganising local government across Northamptonshire claimed its first victim this week despite ministers’ decision to extend the consultation period.

Districts in Somerset hit out at ‘unrealistic’ unitary savings claim


The district councils in Somerset have warned the county’s claim a single unitary authority could save up to £28m are ‘unrealistic’ and not based on sound analysis.

Brokenshire announces Northamptonshire commissioners


New local government secretary James Brokenshire has today announced the two commissioners appointed to help rescue troubled Northamptonshire CC.

Scrapping six Somerset councils could save up to £28m says county leader


The leader of Somerset County Council has launched a public discussion over options to create unitary local authorities.

Bucks residents back two unitaries


Two out of three Buckinghamshire residents support a two-unitary option for the county, according to a newly-published telephone survey.

Suffolk councils put merger plans on hold


Two Suffolk district councils have put their merger plans on hold after the county council ordered a review into the structure of local government.

Javid calls for unitary proposals from Northamptonshire councils


Councils in Northamptonshire have been invited to submit proposals for unitary structures to replace the existing 2-tier system across the county.

Javid gives ‘green light’ to Dorset reorganisation


Sajid Javid yesterday gave the green light for Dorset to go ahead with its ‘historic’ plans to create two unitary councils.

Christchurch sets out bid to stop unitary plans


Christchurch Borough Council has warned it could take legal action if the Government forces it to merge with Bournemouth and Poole councils.

Single local councils could save £2.9bn a year, says think tank


Abolishing district councils and replacing them with single unitary authorities could save £2.9bn a year, a think tank has argued.

Christchurch to hold referendum on unitary council proposal


A referendum on joining a new unitary authority will be held by Christchurch Borough Council, after reports the Government in 'minded' to support the proposal.

Javid announces support for local government overhaul in Dorset


The secretary of state for communities and local government yesterday agreed to support plans to create two new unitary authorities in Dorset.

Councillors join committee to discuss transformation plans


East Dorset councillors have voted to join a joint committee to study proposals to replace the county’s councils with two unitary authorities.

Dorset councils reaffirm commitment to unitary plans


Dorset council leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to a radical local government overhaul that could save the area over £100m.

Joint cabinet ‘unanimously’ agrees to consider single council plans


A special joint cabinet meeting has ‘unanimously’ agreed that plans to create a single council in West Suffolk will be considered by all councillors.

Oxfordshire councils submit controversial unitary bid to Whitehall


Three Oxfordshire councils today submitted a unitary proposal despite concerns this could upset a joint working partnership between two district authorities.

Christchurch to hold referendum on Dorset’s local gov ‘overhaul’


Christchurch councillors have voted in support of a referendum on plans to create two new unitary authorities in Dorset after receiving ‘mixed results’ from previous consultations.

Oxfordshire CC agrees unitary proposal


Oxfordshire County Council formerly agreed yesterday to submit its unitary bid to Government in what the leader described as a ‘hugely important decision’.

Lincolnshire ‘mega-council’ poll cancelled due to ‘ludicrous’ cost


A referendum on the creation of one ‘mega-council’ in Lincolnshire would cost in excess of £1m despite previous county council assurances costs would be ‘kept to a minimum’.

City council launches petition against proposals for ‘super council’


Oxford City Council has launched a petition against the proposal to create a single unitary council in the county.

Oxfordshire single unitary will ‘wreak devastation’ on residents


Plans to create a single unitary authority for Oxfordshire will ‘wreak devastation’ on residents, district council leader warns.

Two districts agree to creation of single unitary council in Oxfordshire


Two district councils in Oxfordshire have agreed to back the county's plans for the creation of a single unitary council, potentially saving up to £100m.

Six Dorset councils back merger plan


Six councils in Dorset are to ask local government minister Sajid Javid to abolish the nine existing councils in the county and replace them with two new unitary authorities.

East Dorset rejects unitary council proposals


East Dorset District Council has rejected proposals to replace the county’s nine councils with two unitary councils.

Public to be polled about new unitary council in Lincolnshire


A referendum is to be held on abolishing all eight councils in Lincolnshire and replacing them one unitary council.

Proposed Oxfordshire unitary authority to save county £100m


A proposal to abolish six councils and create a new ‘unitary’ authority in Oxfordshire looks set to save the county £100m.

Buckinghamshire councils submit proposals for two unitary authorities


Buckinghamshire councils have voted in favour of a controversial proposal for two unitary authorities in the county—despite Buckinghamshire CC opposition.

Dorset councils to review evidence for two new unitary councils


The nine councils in Dorset have agreed to meet next month to discuss the reorganisation of local government, after residents voted in favour of creating two new unitary councils in the county.

Dorset residents support local government ‘shake-up’


Residents in Dorset have given their ‘clear backing’ for changing local government structures.

Chorley calls for fresh look at unitaries


Chorley BC has made a renewed call for ‘radical changes to the structures of local government’ in Lancashire.

Elected mayors essential for ‘local accountability’—DCLG


The Government has confirmed that it will not back down over directly elected mayors despite scepticism from county leaders.

Councils could cash in on two-tier unitaries – CCN


Transforming all remaining two-tier areas into county-based unitaries could save £2.9bn over five years, according to the County Councils Network (CCN).

South West districts to merge


Taunton Deane and West Somerset councils are set to merge following a council meeting last night.

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


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

Dorset consultation ‘undemocratic’ and ‘biased’, PCC says


Dorset PCC condemned the council’s consultation on local government shake-up as ‘an opportunity missed’ and called for a referendum on future changes.

Oxfordshire county and district councils release reports into reorganisation


Reports from both Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire district councils have been published - with both claiming they provide the best option for unitary government.

Buckinghamshire councils divided over unitary plans


Four districts in Buckinghamshire have launched their own review into local governance after rejecting the county’s invitation to work together on unitary plans.

Hampshire councils fall out over 'underperforming' accusations


Councils in Hampshire have exchanged heated words, following disagreements on how best to change the structure of local government in the county.

Districts scrap plans for cross-boundary unitary in Oxfordshire


District councils in Oxfordshire have abandoned plans to create four unitaries that would have spilt out into neighbouring Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire.

County appoints experts to explore new models of local government


Oxfordshire County Council has appointed Grant Thornton to identify what new model of local government should be established in the county.

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Banning urban pesticide use

RSPB and PAN are working on a letter from local councillors calling on the Government to introduce a national ban on urban pesticide use. Find out more below.
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