How is local government reorganising?
On 21 July 2021, the Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, gave the government’s decision on how local councils will change. He decided that the current county, district and borough councils in North Yorkshire will be replaced with a single unitary council in 2023.
Background to local government reorganisation
In July 2020, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government met with Council Leaders across North Yorkshire and York to discuss devolution.
Devolution is when Government provides a region with more powers to decide matters locally, and more investment for strategic initiatives. In devolved areas, all the local authorities in the area come together in a Combined Authority, led by an elected mayor.
The Minister sent a clear message that the government would be interested to see devolution proposals from North Yorkshire and York, but local government would need to be reorganised on unitary lines first.
In response, two different proposals were submitted to government in December 2020. The government consulted on these proposals in the early part of 2021.
What does unitarisation mean?
At the moment, there are several different types of local authority operating in York and North Yorkshire, all with different roles.
In North Yorkshire, district and borough councils (including Ryedale District Council) deliver some services, and the county council delivers other services. In York, the City of York Council is a small unitary that delivers everything to its citizens.
In 2023, the county council, and the district and borough councils in North Yorkshire will be replaced by one unitary council that will deliver all services. This North Yorkshire-wide unitary council will work strategically with the existing City of York council.
When will local government reorganisation happen?
Now the government has given its decision on the way forward, there will be a lot of work to do to implement the new North Yorkshire-wide unitary council.
Legislation, known as a Structural Changes Order, will have to go before Parliament to abolish the existing councils and create the new councils. Councillors will need to be elected, budgets set, and people appointed to the senior Officer positions.
The new unitary structure will start in April 2023. Meanwhile, council services will continue as usual. Council staff will continue to be employed by their current council until March 2023, after which the vast majority of roles will be transferred to the new authority.
How will I be kept informed?
This website will be updated with information about local government reorganisation as it progresses. Information will also appear on Ryedale District Council’s social media channels and in the local media.
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