Local government reform has been impacted by financial and political factors over a number of years.
Operating in an environment of intense financial and administrative pressure, which has been substantially exacerbated by the pandemic, an increasing number of local authorities are looking to explore the possibility that a unitary system may offer a more efficient and viable model to help ease such strains.
It is clear that local government reform is back on the agenda given the decision by then Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick in July 2021 to form unitary councils in north Yorkshire and Somerset, whilst two unitaries will be formed from Cumbria County Council and its districts. Whilst the recently published Levelling Up White Paper does not propose that Government will impose top down local government reform, it clearly states that “there is a case for wholesale institutional reform” and “reorganisation will remain a locally led avenue available where there is broad local support”
In this guide we take look at recent snapshot examples of local government reorganisation and provide general guidance for other authorities who are considering transitioning to a unitary model or are already on that journey.
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