Message from Matt Blake – Senior Communications Officer MVDC
Leaders of Surrey’s District and Borough Councils Welcome Government Clarity on Local Government Reorganisation
Surrey Leaders welcome the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG’s) recent announcement and clarity on local government reorganisation. MHCLG makes it clear there is no compulsion for proposals for reform of local government in two tier areas nor a need for structural change, but that any work going on should:
- be based on locally-led improvements
- be based on locally-led proposals for any council restructuring, rather than top-down Whitehall solutions being imposed on local areas.
This direction provided to local government makes Surrey Leaders’ ‘Putting Residents First’ campaign and its work with consultancy firm KPMG to rethink how local government operates across the county even more pertinent and timely. Surrey Leaders will focus their work on solutions meeting the MHCLG’s direction, which means that an element of its original work – to explore unitary solutions – will be paused. The collection of data and decision making could be used in the future if required.
Surrey Leaders are inviting Surrey County Council to join this campaign, which is working up proposals and ways of delivering reform, including joint working with other partners and closer collaboration.
This campaign utilises the benefits of Surrey’s existing two-tier local government system, building on strong local relationships and networks, at the same time as using districts and boroughs ability to identify and respond quickly to local need, as seen during the response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: “I would like to assure Mole Valley’s residents that I will be continuing to work closely with the other Surrey Leaders throughout this process. We are committed to fully exploring all the available options to ultimately achieve the preferred way forward for the benefit of those who live and work in the county. The recent announcement from MHCLG has thrown Surrey County Council’s push for a unitary authority into doubt and, in the best interests of our residents, we need the County Council to join our campaign. We will keep you informed of the progress made over the coming months.”