A timetable for developing proposals for a 'new, 21st century council' for Leicestershire has been set out.
County Council Leader Nick Rushton has said he wants to start a conversation about creating a unitary authority to replace the county council and the seven district councils.
Outline proposals will be presented to the cabinet in October and there will then be engagement with interested parties such as MPs, district councils, parish and town councils, businesses, universities and the voluntary sector.
The cabinet will consider the proposals further in November and there will be a debate at the full county council meeting in December.
At any stage views from individual residents and taxpayers are welcome. A full public consultation on more detailed proposals is planned for early next year.
I have decided to start a debate about how best to deliver local government services in Leicestershire.Person:Leicestershire County Council leader, Nick Rushton
It’s important we consider sensible options to get a better deal for our tax payers and those who rely on public services. For now, we must accept that the two-tier local government system is broken. It’s bureaucratic, old fashioned, confusing, inefficient and takes money away from front-line services.
One, 21st century council would reduce duplication of services, save at least £30m each year and improve services. Working with parishes and creating town councils in places like Loughborough and Coalville would also enable us to build stronger links with communities - giving residents a greater say in local services. Other large unitary councils are already experiencing these benefits.
The Leader is also working with East Midlands colleagues to develop plans for a Strategic Alliance for the region. He has regularly expressed concern, echoed by commerce and industry, that the East Midlands is losing out to the West Midlands when it comes to Government grant and influence.
We now need to spend time exploring and working up more detailed options for the structure of local government in Leicestershire, drawing on research and the experiences of other councils.Person:Nick Rushton
Seeking the views of residents, MPs, district councils, businesses, universities and others is key and I look forward to a constructive and informed debate.