County Council leader Martin Tett has expressed his ‘disappointment’ that four district councils have commissioned a £200,000 unitary study without involving his authority.
Martin Tett spoke out today, after Aylesbury Vale District Council and the three southern district councils announced that they were teaming up, to explore the possibility of unitary.
Mr Tett has previously said that all of the authorities need to work together to find a better way to save money, and streamline working practices, an has written to the leaders of all the councils to urge for a united front.
In a statement Mr Tett said: “We welcome the fact that the four District Councils have all now recognised the need to modernise local government in Buckinghamshire.
“But we have been clear for some time that local government can no longer afford the muddle and cost of having parish/town, district and county councils covering the same area. Why do we need so many chief executives, finance and personnel departments etc. when we should be spending this money on services for residents?
“We are disappointed that the four district councils have apparently chosen to commit £200,000 of hard pressed taxpayers’ money on external management consultants without discussing their ideas with the county council.
“The county council took the decision in early May to look at options for modernising local government in Buckinghamshire including developing a business case for a new, single unitary council for Buckinghamshire, and we invited the district councils to work with us in evaluating any other options based on common methodology and shared evidence base.
“Only today, six weeks later, have we received a response to our invitation refusing our offer to work together in the interests of residents.
“The fact that the district leaders have refused to work with us and indeed have used taxpayers’ money to fund expensive management consultants is regrettable.
“Our business case is still in development but one of the exciting parts of it is how we want to hand decision-making on local services back fully to local communities. This would really empower residents to decide what happens in their own local areas on the services that are important to them. We also know the massive financial savings that could be achieved by a new, single council through increased economies of scale.
“I urge the district councils to come together with us, work together and evaluate all options objectively so that they can be presented to government for a decision.”