Talks to create one ‘supercouncil’ to cover whole county

Could Broxtowe Borough Council soon become a thing of the past?
Could Broxtowe Borough Council soon become a thing of the past?

Talks are under way to look into creating a new ‘supercouncil’ to cover the whole of Nottinghamshire and replace the current two-tier system of local government.

At present, the council is served by a county council and a cluster of district and borough councils, such as Broxtowe Brough Council, which oversees the Eastwood and Kimberley area.

The county is responsible for providing some services, while the other councils take care of the rest, which is said to confuse residents.

Many politicians feel this set-up is now out of date and badly needs reform, so that services can be modernised and made more cost-effective.

It could also save money at a time when local councils are receiving less financial help from central government and, therefore, having to either cut services or raise council tax.

The ‘supercouncil’ would be the biggest change to local government in Nottinghamshire for more than 40 years, but detailed analysis of the options has been drawn up and talks begin tomorrow (Thursday) in the first of a series of top-level meetings attended by all political parties.

A new working group is to be chaired by Coun Kay Cutts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council. She said: “We believe there is a pressing case for change in the way local government is organised, so that we can deliver significant savings and improve the quality of services local people will receive.

“We are faced with financial challenges and the need to live within our means, so it is only right that we do our bit to eliminate waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency in the provision of services.

“Having a confusing two-tier structure of local government is outdated, unnecessary and is no longer fit for purpose.

“The county, district and borough councils all serve the same electorate and we must focus on what is best for them. Status quo is no longer a realistic option, so we must change if services are to survive.”

Coun Cutts feels that the biggest savings that can be made by creating one council are by cutting the management structures of councils and the use of public buildings. It would also improve buying power with businesses.

She added: “By having one senior management team, one council headquarters, one website and one contact phone number, we can make significant savings and improve the quality of services.

“However, the working group will scrutinise the evidence for and against all the options available.”

If the case for change is agreed, a major public consultation would be held early next year.