Is this the end for North Warwickshire Council?

Thursday, 20th February 2014

A radical shake up in Warwickshire means that North Warwickshire Borough Council could be scrapped.

One of the possibilities being discussed at a public debate taking place next week is that North Warwickshire Borough Council is scrapped and a County-wide Unitary authority is formed as the County Council seeks to save £92million in the next four years.

A statement has been issued by Leader of the Council, Councillor Mick Stanley and Councillor Les Smith, Leader of the Conservative Group on the proposed debate on County unitary status.

Councillors Mick Stanley and Les Smith said that both political parties were united in their opposition towards a unitary authority in Warwickshire:
‘North Warwickshire Borough Council will strongly oppose the debate on a County Unitary for a number of reasons.  First and  foremost ,  we believe that this is an unwelcome distraction at a time when we are working hard to continue to deliver quality local services against a backdrop of austerity.  The Government have made it very clear that Local Government Reorganisation is not on the agenda, and our staff and Councillors are fully engaged with what is on the agenda, i.e. serving our community by keeping cost effective front line services running.

Secondly, we have a long track record in providing good local services with our partners and were commended last year in an inspection carried out through the Local Government Association for being ‘a small council which is punching well above its weight’ and being seen as a ‘partner of choice’, by other organisations in the public and voluntary sectors for getting things done in partnership.

Thirdly, the nature and content of the proposed debate is flawed. It is clear from the County Council’s own press release that they see a Unitary County Council is the only alternative to current arrangements.  Even if this was the right time for a discussion, it should be on the basis of what is the best way of delivering services in a cost effective way to local communities, rather than the ‘take it or leave it’ approach on offer.

Finally, the debate may be public, but the vote at the subsequent meeting will not be.  It’s strictly for County Councillors.  While they are talking, we will get on with delivering.’