On 21 July 2021, the Secretary of State for Communities, Housing and Local Government, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, outlined the government’s decision on how local councils will change. The current county, district and borough councils in North Yorkshire will be replaced with a single unitary council in 2023. The unitary authority will deliver all services across the whole of the current county footprint.
This is subject to parliamentary approval via a Structural Changes Order (SCO) in early 2022 and will result in the current county council and seven district/borough councils in North Yorkshire coming together to form a single new council on the 1 April 2023.
As a valued partner we will be keeping you informed on progress as we undertake this significant change programme and we hope you find the below of interest.
As we progress with our change and transformation programme we want to reassure you that we are committed to keeping you informed and engaged along the way. We value your views and will provide opportunities for you to help shape the new council.
This is an exciting moment for North Yorkshire and, as we deliver the transformation required, we are also keen to pursue the benefits of devolution. Early indications are that the government is open to this approach and we will have more information on this in the coming months.
A large-scale change programme, like the one we are all undertaking, needs a dedicated set of governance arrangements to ensure all councils are involved in oversight and leadership and can work collaboratively to build the best possible new council together.
As such, we have put in place a senior officer- led ‘Implementation Team’. All of the district and borough council chief executives are represented on this group, alongside the county council’s management board. It is chaired by the county council’s chief executive, Richard Flinton. The vice chair is Paul Shevlin the chief executive of Craven District Council.
An ‘Implementation Board’ provides oversight of the officer team’s progress and direction. All eight councils have an elected leader or political representative on this board. It is chaired by the leader of the county council, Cllr Carl Les. The vice chair is Cllr Mark Crane, the leader of Selby District Council.
The Implementation team and board are holding monthly meetings.
NB – The eight councils will continue to operate their own business-as-usual decision-making processes outside of the local government reorganisation process until the end of March 2023.
15 core work streams have been set up as detailed below. These will establish and drive the key actions and priorities for each area to ensure the new council is safe and legal from day one. They will also consider any early opportunities to join services up.
|Corporate Governance||Barry Khan||North Yorkshire|
|Comms, Engagement & Branding||Richard Flinton||North Yorkshire|
|Culture, Leisure & Sport||Richard Webb||North Yorkshire|
|Customer (inc. Revs/ Bens)||Wallace Sampson||Harrogate|
|Economic Development||Mike Greene||Scarborough|
|Finance||Gary Fielding||North Yorkshire|
|Human Resources||Justine Brooksbank||North Yorkshire|
|ICT & Digital||Stuart Carlton||North Yorkshire|
|Organisational Development||Stacey Burlet||Ryedale|
|Regulatory Services & Emergency Planning||Tony Clark||Richmondshire|
|Waste, Highways, Parking & Street Scene||Karl Battersby||North Yorkshire|
Adults, Children’s and Public Health: Day 1 planning and service continuity only
To be pursued in parallel to the transition to unitary council by Mike Greene (Scarborough), Richard Flinton (North Yorkshire) and Ian Floyd (York)
We understand the value of local government remaining local and we want to take this opportunity to reassure you of some core principles on this important matter. The new council will be local, with staff continuing to live and work in the communities they serve. There will be a main office in each district and face-to-face customer access points throughout market towns. Community networks will bring together residents, councillors, town and parish councils, MPs, community groups and partners like the NHS and police and fire service. In addition, area committees will oversee decisions on matters like licensing and planning at a local level. The detail on these will be for the new council to decide but local will remain at the heart of what this new council stands for.
Ahead of the final Structural Changes Order (SCO) mentioned earlier, a draft version was shared with all eight councils by Government earlier this month (November 2021) and their comments were invited on this draft.
The draft SCO suggested the council’s name would be North Yorkshire Council, 90 new elected members would represent 89 wards. It suggests elections for these new councillors will be May 2022, with members elected to serve the current county council for its final 12 months and then a further 4 years as new ‘unitary’ councillors. Current district and borough councillors will continue to serve their electorate until the new council launches on April 1, 2023.
It also proposes that town and parish council elections be aligned to the May 2022 election process.
Other proposals include setting in place arrangements to support new town councils for Harrogate and Scarborough.
Early in the New Year government will deliver its final SCO and lay that before Parliament for approval.