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North Yorkshire to Become Single Unitary Council

The Local Government Secretary has confirmed plans to replace North Yorkshire's County, District and Borough Councils with a single Unitary Authority.

Secretary of State for Local Government Robert Jenrick MP, has announced that he has that he has chosen the county council’s proposal for the future delivery of local public services in North Yorkshire.

The proposal will see Scarborough Borough Council abolished along with the county's six other district councils, they will effectively be merged with North Yorkshire County Council to form one big authority for the county. The City of York will remain as a separate unitary authority.

The single council plan had been backed by the county council, an alternative plan to split the county in to separate East and West authorities had been backed by the district council leaders including Scarborough Borough Council leader Steve Siddons.

The new authority will come in to being in April 2023.

In Making his decision the secretary of state, Robert Jenrick MP said:

"For North Yorkshire I have decided to implement, subject to Parliamentary approval, the proposal for a single unitary council for the whole of the existing administrative county of North Yorkshire. I considered that this proposal strongly met all three of the criteria. I have also decided not to implement the proposal for two unitary councils - one council comprising the existing areas of Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby and the current unitary of York, and the other council comprising the existing areas of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate and Richmondshire. I considered that this proposal did not meet the improving local government and service delivery and credible geography criteria."

North Yorkshire county Council Leader, Cllr Carl Les said:

“We have worked incredibly hard to get to this point because we believe it’s the right thing for North Yorkshire, its people and businesses. Today’s decision allows us to strengthen the services we know matter most to people and ensure they are fit for the future.

“A single council will also make things simpler for everyone – just one number to call, one website, one customer service team and one accountable body delivering all local government services here.

“Support for businesses, High Streets and Market Towns can be aligned more closely with investment in infrastructure like highways and broadband. Planning, housing and health services will be able to provide more joined up support for families and communities.

“At this time it feels right to say thank you to all council staff, county and district, for their dedication and professionalism during an unsettling time with both the pandemic and local government reorganisation pressures. Today’s judgement provides the clarity our dedicated public sector workforce deserve.”

Pandemic Recovery and Strong Local Services are County’s Focus

As North Yorkshire prepares to become a single ‘unitary’ council, following a Government announcement today, county council leader Cllr Carl Les says local priorities will remain at the heart of decision-making and there will be a clear focus on collaboration with partners. His statement follows the announcement by Secretary of State Robert Jenrick MP, that he has chosen our proposal for the future delivery of local public services here. As such, a new single and strong council will deliver all public services to every household in the county from April 2023, replacing the eight councils currently operating under the two-tier system. Read the full story at www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/pandemic-recovery-and-strong-local-services-are-countys-focus

Posted by North Yorkshire County Council on Wednesday, July 21, 2021

 

Wendy Nichols, Secretary of the North Yorkshire Branch of Unison, which represents more than 5,500 council employees welcomed today’s news;

“Our priority is to make sure that staff experience the least possible disruption so they can get on with their jobs and continue to deliver high quality and reliable public services.

“Many thousands of staff will now simply transfer to the new council as part of the process of setting it up and hardworking officers in the district and borough councils will be able to TUPE across on their current terms and conditions.

“I hope this announcement is welcomed by all members as really positive and that the spirit of professionalism continues as teams across councils work together to deliver a stronger future for everyone’s benefit.” 

The Executive member with responsibility for resources at the county council, Cllr Gareth Dadd, added:

“Our people are our greatest asset and the reason so many of our services are nationally acclaimed. I know that commitment, innovation and resilience is shared by teams throughout the county, district and borough councils and that as they become a single team the county stands to benefit greatly. Not just because in working more closely we can join up services and ensure they make good sense but also to deliver best value for money because following the Coronavirus pandemic there will continue to be financial challenges for the council.

“It is also sustainably right that we streamline eight councils into one to make sizeable savings to protect services and the local council tax payer.”

Chief Executive, Richard Flinton, said:

“Today’s announcement is very positive news for North Yorkshire. Never have we needed a unified approach and strong voice more than we do now as we strive to deliver better life chances for everyone here, while working hard with partners and businesses to drive post-Covid economic recovery.

“This decision is a huge step towards ensuring the county can punch its weight regionally and nationally to create better opportunities for people and communities at a critical time. It places us firmly on the path to reap the many benefits that devolution can deliver and safeguards public services.

“It also allows us to deliver on our promise to empower local communities including town and parish councils and local groups and to work with them to develop plans and people focussed networks around our market towns. Local decision making and action will be a key feature of the new council.

“However, as the public would expect, we will roll up our sleeves and remain focussed on providing North Yorkshire with high quality public services from the heart of communities while we manage this transformation process.”

The county’s bid attracted a great deal of support across partners in health and the emergency services as well as from businesses and business leaders. Amongst them is the former chair of York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), David Kerfoot, who said today;

“This is a tremendous moment for North Yorkshire and moves us closer towards the county reaching its full economic potential as a rural powerhouse.

“For many decades the countryside has watched on as urban areas have taken the lion’s share of national investment. A new single council will stand shoulder to shoulder with the LEP and ensure the county benefits from the best possible devolution deal without delay.”

The secretary off state set out the timetable for the changes saying:

"I now intend to seek Parliamentary approval for the necessary secondary legislation to implement my decisions. I intend to lay the draft structural changes Order before Parliament around the turn of the year and they will include provisions for appropriate transitional arrangements, including for elections in May 2022 for the future unitary councils; for cancelling elections currently scheduled for May 2022 for existing councils, including those rescheduled from May 2021 as a result of the orders made earlier this year; and for the unitary councils to assume the full range of local authority responsibilities on 1 April 2023, when predecessor councils would be abolished."

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