Why have two, three or (as we do now…. ) seven councils - when you could choose just ONE.
It’s a simple message - that sums up the duplication and waste that exists in Cumbria and across its seven councils at this time.
It stops us from concentrating on what really matters – improving the lives of our residents, businesses and communities.
The current system is simply not good enough for our residents, businesses and communities – there are too many councils in Cumbria. Ironically this is the ‘one’ thing - that everyone agrees on.
The answer… One Cumbria – One new council – Choose One Cumbria
One Cumbria will:
To support our case we have also carried out an outline equality assessment which can be viewed here.
There was also a detailed piece of work carried out by the County Council's Scrutiny Task Group on the development of proposals in respect of locality arrangements and strengthening the role of town and parish councils – this report can be viewed here.
How will the One Cumbria proposal secure the devolution and funding that Cumbria requires?
One Cumbria provides a firm foundation for future devolution - devolution of powers and budgets from the Government to Cumbria, and to Cumbrian communities. Now, more than ever, it is critical for Cumbria to have strong place leadership and capacity to deliver a shared vision for clean inclusive growth and recovery, and the powers and resources to unlock opportunities and investment. As we put in place our plans for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, One Council for Cumbria will bring partners together at the place level to lead long-term recovery and growth.
One Council for Cumbria will join up economic development, business support, housing, spatial planning, transport and connectivity infrastructure, education and skills, and culture and heritage. This will enable better strategic planning and delivery at pace. Government and other national and regional stakeholders will have a single accountable voice to do business with. Our ambition is to secure a future devolution deal for the county that will provide the levers and resources to drive economic growth across all parts of Cumbria.
To achieve our ambitions it will be essential to have simple, effective and accountable decision-making arrangements to enable partners across Cumbria to collaborate and deliver at pace. We have carried out an exploration of the arrangements that will best fit Cumbria and believe that a single Council working collaboratively with partners at local, regional and national level is the best platform for securing powers and resources, without creating a Combined Authority to operate alongside other councils in the county. Combined Authority arrangements have generally been implemented in City Region areas and alternative arrangements are already in place in areas such as Cornwall and under discussion in a number of other areas. A Combined Authority within Cumbria would add complexity onto a governance structure that is being reviewed to, in part, reduce the complexity for residents and for local, regional and national stakeholders.
One new unitary council would have a huge HQ at Carlisle is this true?
This is NOT true – any new council will need to have offices and public buildings located across the county to allow for easy access to customers and to ensure that staff work locally near to where they live wherever possible. It is true that a decision will need to be taken as to where the ‘main’ council HQ will be – but this could be anywhere – for example both the Fire Service and Police have their HQ at Penrith – but have buildings all over the County located close to the communities they serve.
One new unitary council would be remote from the needs of local people and local communities
This is also NOT true - a single unitary for Cumbria would be built around a local people and local communities – it will ensure that local decisions are made by local people focussing on the issues that matter to them most. One Cumbria will build even greater connections with parish and town councils.
A PROPOSITION FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM FROM CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL