Despite the government’s failure to publish its white paper on Devolution it is pushing ahead local government reorganization in our area. This means the NYCC elections will not take place this May.
Robert Jenrick, Secretary for Housing and Communities and Local Government, has launched a consultation over the proposals submitted to him for a reorganization of local government to a single tier form authority. The consultation will run for eight weeks until Monday 19th April.
North Yorkshire County Council is proposing a new council which would deliver all services across North Yorkshire and respect the independent status of the City of York Council – which is already a unitary or single-tier authority.
The Borough and District Councils proposal is to have 2 single-tier councils, broadly split along east- west lines: one would serve communities in Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby and York, and the other communities in Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate and Richmondshire. However, this would require a change of status for the City of York Council.
Regarding elections Jenrick stated “I have concluded that, irrespective of what my future decisions might be on the restructuring proposals, the right course is to reschedule the May 2021 local elections. If no unitary proposal is implemented in an area, the rescheduled elections will take place in May 2022. If a unitary proposal is implemented the rescheduled elections will be replaced by elections in May 2022 to the new unitary authority or authorities which could be in shadow form or a continuing council taking on the functions of the other councils in the area.”
The consultation will include statuary bodies such as police, fire, health, etc and there will be opportunities for Parish Councils to respond. It is not clear how individual responses from the public will be considered. Three primary areas will be considered for evaluating the respective proposals:
- Is the proposal an effective form of local government?
- Does the proposal cover a coherent geographical area?
- Can the proposal demonstrate good local support?
The consultation will run for two months followed by a further two months for the government to analyse responses. Consequently, a decision is expected sometime in July. There will be no referendum.