A comprehensive business case setting out the many benefits of a new single council for Somerset was today unanimously approved by Cabinet following a key vote today.
Somerset County Council is developing plans to replace all five existing councils with a new single council for Somerset, with the business case highlighting a number of benefits, including:
- One council listening to the needs and concerns of residents, parishes and businesses, providing clear accountability.
- One point of contact for all local services, ending confusion and frustration for the public.
- One council but with 15 to 20 new Local Community Networks (LCNs) established in every corner of Somerset to give local people the chance to shape their own communities. These will have real constitutional powers to scrutinise, impact and take decisions.
- Detailed analysis shows expected savings of £18.5m per year, with one off implementation costs of £16.5m. Over five years the expected savings are £52.6m. This is money which instead can be spent on real local issues and challenges including:
o Caring for our most vulnerable residents
o Delivering life chances for our children and young people
o Reducing rural isolation and loneliness
o Delivering the housing each community needs
o Investing in climate change
o Investing in health and wellbeing across Somerset
o Boosting economic growth, jobs and apprenticeships.
Members of the council’s Cabinet met today and unanimously approved the One Somerset business case. This means it will now go to Full Council next week (29 July) for a final decision on whether to submit the business case to the Secretary of State.
Somerset County Council Leader David Fothergill said: “We’ve been talking about change in Somerset for many years – meanwhile, our neighbours have modernised, improved services and saved public money by moving to a single council model.
“So it is fantastic to finally see these plans moving forward. One Somerset is a chance to re-energise our public services, give our communities more power, end the confusion and save money for better services.”
To find out more about the One Somerset model, read the business case, and to have your say on the plans, please visit www.onesomerset.org.uk. Paper copies of the survey are also being distributed to homes across the county in the latest Your Somerset newsletter. You can stay up to date with the campaign on Twitter @One1Somerset and on Facebook @OneSomerset.