27 March 2007

The proposal by Cornwall county council to replace the present county and six district councils with one unitary council has passed the first hurdle, as have fifteen other unitary proposals from elsewhere. The government has shortlisted it and now opened it to consultation with local councils and organisations and services. In July, after considering the responses, the government will decide whether to go ahead with the Cornwall unitary reorganisation. If it does go ahead, subject to parliamentary approval, there will be a changeover period with new elections in May 2008 for the new council to take over finally in April 2009.

As far as I can see there is nothing to stop the new unitary council referring to itself, informally at any rate, as an assembly. Read my earlier post about the possibility of extra powers.

Much is promised in the Cornwall unitary aims; there will be improved efficiency, services, accessibility to local council services, and responsiveness; and £15 million pa extra to spend on services (or reducing council tax).

It sounds paradisal. Oh, and the county council also says on its website, “fewer people will be working within local government” as a result of the creation of the unitary council. That means job losses, I think, which sounds hadean. As far as I can see the website doesn’t say how many.

The consultation details are here.