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Bucks County Council to develop business case for a single unitary council for Buckinghamshire

| May 9, 2016

Buckinghamshire County Council Offices, Aylesbury. 2009-04-06

On Monday 9th May 2016 Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Members gave approval to a study to develop a business case for a single unitary council.

The study will explore a single unitary council option and focus on high-quality, cost-effective services for residents and businesses across Buckinghamshire with strong and accountable local leadership at its heart.

Cabinet Members were in agreement that as well as detailing the financial elements, the business case should also make clear how services would be delivered in practice within a single unitary council and how this would benefit residents across the county.

They also agreed that collaboration and consultation with all the key partners and stakeholders, as well as residents, will be a crucial part of the process.

Cabinet Members were clear that integration of services through a single unitary council model would bring real and tangible benefits for residents, and that a single unitary council would preserve the ‘collective sense of history’ for the county of Buckinghamshire; but also expressed the need to understand and get right the balance between economies of scale in a county wide model and ensuring that the needs of local communities are met.

Leader of the Council, Martin Tett said: ‘The business case that Cabinet has agreed today to develop will show how a single unitary council would streamline and simplify services for residents – something that is long overdue and that residents certainly tell us they want. Combined with the significant cost-savings to be gained over the medium term from economies of scale, a single unitary council model is a compelling option and one that should be ‘on the table’ for consideration.

We’ve already seen new types of councils developed in other parts of the country and the benefits they have brought to residents, and it’s the right time now for Buckinghamshire to consider its future.

Collaboration is the key to the process of modernising local government; and we want to work together with all our partners – district councils, town and parish councils, businesses, health and police colleagues and others. This will ensure the greatest chance of a successful, resilient and customer-focused organisation for the future.

The aim is for the business case to be completed within the next three months, ready to be considered by Cabinet from September 2016.

In due course, there is the potential for an Independent Commission to be established which would examine all business cases developed to date including the County Council’s if approved by Cabinet. A Commission could potentially include an independent Chairman, Town and Parish Councils in Buckinghamshire, and representatives from the local business community, and could also incorporate a public consultation process.

Further information about the proposed business case can be found on the Buckinghamshire County Council Website.

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