“Now is the time to consider change,” says the County Council leader ahead of seeking views from a wide range of stakeholders on shaking up local government across Leicestershire.
A paper setting out drivers and options for different unitary structures was discussed by the council’s cabinet yesterday (Tuesday).
In the summer, council leader Nick Rushton, said he wanted to “start a conversation” about re-drawing the shape of local government in the county.
Now, over the autumn and winter, the council will speak to and seek the views of MPs, district councils, parish and town councils, the NHS, criminal justice agencies, businesses, universities, the voluntary sector and other stakeholders.
It will also look at any other options put forward and use the feedback to shape proposals for future widespread public consultation.
Local government is facing a perfect storm – the financial pressures, national funding context and growing service demands underline that now is the time to consider change. This is something we can all agree on.Person:Council leader, Nick Rushton
The cabinet report clearly makes the case for change and assesses two different options. As I’ve said, now that we’ve had the opportunity to draw up tangible ideas, I’m keen to start the conversation with a wide range of stakeholders.
I hope this involves the district councils putting forward options themselves. And these could be considered by the new cross-party working group, which will meet for the first time on Friday to agree its focus and approach.
This is the start of the conversation. And that’s why over the autumn and winter, we’ll be talking to stakeholders and working together on drawing up a new unitary structure, fit for the 21st century. The views of residents are really important and if people want to let me know their thoughts at this stage, they can email or write to me.
A cross-party group – formed to provide advice, challenge and feedback - will meet this Friday (19 October).
The 10-member panel mirrors the political make-up of the council and includes the three party leaders – Nick Rushton, Simon Galton, Liberal Democrat group leader, and Terri Eynon, leader of the Labour group.