Joint statement from the Leaders of Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West & Taunton Council, and South Somerset District Council:
The Leaders of Somerset’s four District councils have announced they are moving forward with plans to fundamentally change the way local government works in Somerset. The plans involve unprecedented and deep rooted collaboration to deliver a better system of local Government in the county that will be more integrated, efficient and work better for communities.
Over the past 18 months, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West & Taunton Council and South Somerset District Council, together with Somerset County Council, have been exploring together the future options for delivering vital services and supporting communities in the county.
Change is necessary to not only deal with the financial challenges within the County Council but also to meet increasing demands on services and in particular, to deal with the big challenges facing our communities including child poverty, older people living in isolation, the climate crisis, housing and infrastructure.
Our aim therefore is not to simply cut costs. Our intention is to find a way, through the better use of our resources and working with our residents, to sustain vital services now and for the future to help secure a better quality of life for communities in Somerset.
Following high level research into the options for change, which has been evaluated to ensure the benefits and implications of any possible changes are understood, the Leaders of the District councils have agreed a way forward for Somerset.
The District Councils of Somerset have already effected massive change successfully over the past few years to ensure efficiency and protect services in the face of unprecedented cuts in funding and growing demand.
Building on these changes, the Councils have agreed to collaborate and integrate in a number of new and innovative ways.
Reports will be delivered to each District council in early 2020 which will set a path forward for fundamental change to local government. This will include discussion with residents, businesses and partners, invited to share their views on the proposals in the following months. We want to ensure that we strengthen the voice of the communities of Somerset and devolve decision making so that the people of Somerset can take the decisions that affect their lives and their futures.
A question and answer document has been provided for a more detailed look at what is proposed (see attached).
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Statement has been issued by South Somerset District Council on behalf of Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset West & Taunton Council.
Click on the link below for Districts Q&A