Abolish all councils
Local government but not as we know it could come to Devon if the county council's radical proposals for unitary status are adopted.
Local government - but not as we know it - could come to Devon if the county council's radical proposals for unitary status are adopted.DCC has proposed scrapping itself and the eight existing district councils, and replacing them with a single 100-member council to cover all of Devon, except Plymouth and Torbay, which are already unitary.The new authority would be accompanied by 28 community boards based around towns and nearby villages, which would sit on top of existing town and parish councils, which would be unaffected.A senior spokesman at DCC said itself and the district authorities spent £1.4 billion a year, and believed that money could be better spent by a single council because of economies of scale and cutting repetition of services and functions.He said: "There is a substantial amount of money locked up in local government being in business."By reducing bureaucracy in Devon we can free up millions of pounds of tax payers' money to spend on frontline projects."The need for greater investment is clear. We already get less than the average from Government so we have to find more money from within Devon."He said the exact powers of the community boards had not yet been decided, and they would only be confirmed after discussion with partners and town councils.The council's submission to the review said they would have a scrutiny role, and would be supported by a small team of officers.Elections would need to be held for the new council, and its leader would be chosen by the councillors elected, unless there were significant calls for a directly elected leader, in which case, this could be accommodated.The proposal is the county's response to the Government's Boundary Committee review. Leader of the County Council, Cllr Brian Greenslade said: "The balance we have to strike is between councils forming that are too small to be effective, and ensuring a larger council is responsive to the communities of Devon. We see the most potential in Devon having three unitary councils: Plymouth, Torbay and Devon."City and Community Boards will identify local priorities and will hold public services to account.Shadow Leader of the Council, Cllr John Hart said: "The people we serve are not so concerned about who provides their service but they do want services that are delivered locally and efficiently."To see the full DCC submission, visit our website at www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and find this story in the news section.To have your say, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Herald at 106 High Street, Sidmouth, EX10 8EF.