Venue: Council Chamber, King George V House, King George V Road, Amersham
Contact: Mathew Bloxham 01494 732143; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Declarations of Interest
Councillors I Darby and P E C Martin declared a personal interest in Item 4 (Implementation of a New Unitary District Council) being Members of Buckinghamshire County Council.
Councillor F Wilson - Customer Experience Strategy: Presentation by GOSS Interactive
On Monday 26 November 2018 Members were invited to meet the Council’s technology partner GOSS Interactive. The demonstration showed how the Council’s new digital platform would operate and the functionalities that would be provided to customers. It was noted that organisations that had redesigned digital services had demonstrated how reliance on other communication channels such as telephone could be significantly reduced.
Councillor P E C Martin - Chiltern and South Bucks Annual Business Event 2018
The Council’s Annual Business Event took place on 19 November 2018. It was noted that 100 businesses were present and feedback received had been very positive with 96% of attendees saying that they would attend a similar event in the future. Thanks were expressed to the Economic Development team for the event.
On 1 November 2018, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire announced a decision in favour of a single new unitary District Council, for the whole of the current administrative area of Buckinghamshire County Council, in a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS). The new authority would be implemented on 1st April 2020 and elections to the Council would take place on 7th May 2020. The statement included some matters which are decided and other matters which he intends to consult on before reaching a decision.
The report requested that the Cabinet recommend to Council the process for agreeing the wording of representations to be made in response to the WMS in time for the deadline on 30 November 2018. It also sought to ensure that sufficient resources were available to enable the authority to respond to the requirements of the proposed Structural Change Orders and to support transition within the Council. The amount of financial resources required for implementation was unknown at this stage, but this was something the Council would need to make provision for.
The Leader presented the report and asked that the words “other District Leaders” be inserted after the word “Leader” in recommendation 2.
The Leader then reflected on the background to the WMS. Reference was made to the previous Pathfinder project involving sharing services across the Districts and County Council; the Secretary of State’s “minded to” decision announced in Parliament on 12 March 2018; and the snap General Election held on 8 June 2017.
Whilst it was sad that the Council would no longer exist from 1 April 2020 this also provided a fantastic opportunity to build a new Unitary District Council. It was therefore important to make sure that the new Council was the very best that it can be.
The timescales for its implementation, set out by the MHCLG, were very short. The draft Orders were based largely on those from the Dorset local government reorganisation. The draft Orders were due to be laid in Parliament on 14 January 2019 which meant that the final content needed to be agreed in early December, and representations from Councils on the detail of those draft Orders were required by 30 November 2018, at the latest. As a result there had been many discussions between Council Leaders over the past few weeks on the detail of the proposed Orders. There was already agreement on some areas, but not all, and the aim was to reach agreement on all areas, if possible. The Districts all had Council meetings scheduled to consider making submissions to the Secretary of State before 30 November 2018.
The Leader then sought Members’ views on a number of items. With regard to the local elections due to be held in 2019 it was generally agreed by all Leaders that these should be postponed until May 2010 to coincide with elections to the new authority to avoid new District Members being appointed for just one year. The Town and Parish ... view the full minutes text for item 146.