This week at the county council there was a debate about the future of our local councils and what is the best way to deliver local services in the future.
I think this is really important as we consider issues like social care and local infrastructure when we know money is tight, but demand is growing.
My view is that our county would benefit a great deal from having just one council, a single unified local authority for Nottinghamshire (excluding the city which already has its own set up in the same way).
It makes no sense to me that some of the key priorities I’ve mentioned in the past are currently led by a variety of different partners with different budgets and priorities.
It would make so much more sense, for example, to have social housing and social care run by the same organisation, seeing as the two are so closely connected.
We currently have three separate tiers of local Government – county, district and parish or town councils.
I firmly believe that by bringing district and county councils together, you can effectively pool resources, make huge savings and invest that money back in to better local services.
To balance this out we can strengthen parish and town councils to ensure everyone still has a direct local connection to these services.
The front-line staffing wouldn’t need to change at all, the local links wouldn’t have to go anywhere and you could still access those services where you live.
But there could be huge improve-ments in the way services worked together, and big financial benefits too.
Along with that, and perhaps the biggest benefit of all, you’d effectively get rid of more than 100 politicians!
A big council could also have more clout and work with its partners in Leicester and Derby to draw money and new powers down from Government, delivering better investment with decisions made closer to home.
To me it seems like a common sense solution to key issues like and I hope it’s one that will be taken forward by everyone involved, as is happening in other parts of the UK.