As the process of establishing the new Unitary Authority commences, it is vitally important that any joint board setup to thrash out the final shape of the new council:
- Includes all of the District in the discussions about its future shape -Â irrespective of party politics. TheyÂ allÂ need to beÂ representing to properly represent the interests of each District as well asÂ to address the concerns of all staff.
- Quickly establishes the broad principles of the new authority. Principles which should be to devolve powers down as much as possible, which should involve people as much as possible and to empower peopleÂ directly.
- Equally quickly actually communicate with the public about the process from here on in. Tell them what is happening. Explain how the new authority will be run. Ask people what they want from their new authority and don’t just blindly set it up first only to have to fix it later.
EVERYBODY, whether for or against Unitary,Â needs to work together to ensure the new council is a success from day 1. You are only going to get 1 chance to fix the historical problems inherent in all of the old councils and 1 chance to safeguard the successes. I suggest you don’t drop the ball and that you get it right from the start!