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'Proposals for unitary local authorities' - Our View


We've responded to the consultation by DCLG on proposals for unitary authorities in shire England. Our response argues the case for:

  • Powerful new unitary local authorities serving the communities of shire England, working closely with,
  • a renewed structure of empowered and influential town and parish councils, as well as other strengthened neighbourhood level structures.

Our response recognises that large and more remote unitary authorities do pose some significant challenges in terms of the effective representation of rural people and in terms of the effective governance of localities.

We think that the response to these challenges should include strengthening the role of parish and town councils and new approaches to area committees and other local management arrangements. The case for smaller unitary authorities should also be carefully considered if there are continuing concerns that such mitigation arrangements would be insufficiently effective.

Our response also deals with some of the resourcing issues involved in these proposals, the future role of National Park Authorities, and some views on the pathfinder bids made to DCLG for improved two tier structures where these remain.

Last year's discussion paper ‘Shire local government – time for change?’  also outlined our views on the future shape and structure of shire local government.


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