Cabinet discussion reinforces the importance of ‘putting residents and communities at the heart of the development of the new council’

At Cabinet yesterday (10 December), County Council leader Martin Tett spoke of the importance of ‘putting residents and communities at the heart of the development of the new council’ and taking forward the plans in the single council business case.

The county council business case for a single unitary authority outlined the vision for a new council creating a simpler, more local and better value council for the residents of Buckinghamshire.

Following extensive engagement with residents, local communities, other public sector organisations and businesses the council’s vision for a single unitary council included:

  • A stronger local voice for residents and town and parish councils with five local area planning committees improving local decision making on local planning issues, local community boards where councillors are given more decision making powers on local issues reflecting their local communities and enhancing the devolution offer with town and parish councils, tailored to the ambitions and capacity of each council.
  • A better customer experience, and simpler council for all by joining up services and having one council to contact for all services
  • Improving local access to serviceswith the creation of up to 19 local community hubs, co-located where appropriate with other public services.
  • A better value council making the best use of public money and reducing duplication across multiple councils.

Following the Cabinet meeting today, County Council leader Martin Tett said:

“Our proposal for a new council is built on the premise of a simpler council for all, taking away the confusion of knowing where to go for services and bringing those services closer to our residents who need them.

Much of the natural concern about a new ‘super council’ in the local media is that it won’t be local. The county council’s business case is all about being local and putting residents and communities at the heart of the development of the new council.

Although we want to do more and more online, there will always be people who need a physical place to go to access or discuss council services. Community hubs are therefore a key priority for the implementation of the new council.

We need to make sure that the days of being passed from pillar to post are truly behind us and this really does become a simpler, more local council for all in the future. The beauty of a single council that really makes this for me is having the strength of one voice on key issues affecting the whole county like strategic planning and negotiations with Government, whilst at a really local level empowering local councillors to take local decisions affecting their communities and improve local access to services.

The government has not yet specified how the Implementation Executive to drive this change forward will be made up, but it’s of paramount importance that we move forward together in partnership with colleagues in District, Town and Parish councils to ensure we achieve the full benefits of a single authority for our residents.”

View the webcast of the Cabinet meeting here: