Our proposals for change
The single council proposal builds upon the existing shared management and joint working arrangements that have been in place since 2013 between the two councils.
During the summer the Councils approved a significant programme to modernise and become more efficient at what we do and how we do it. We want to get things right first time, streamline our processes and enable customers to access more information and services online around the clock i.e. “24/7”. Of course, we will still offer face-to-face and telephone services as not everyone can, or wants to go online.
This work is already underway and should save £2.6m each year which supports our annual budget and helps protect valuable front line services that we know you all want. This work is not dependent upon the outcome of the submission to the Secretary of State.
In order to deliver further savings the Councils have also agreed to support a proposal to create a single, district council for Taunton Deane and West Somerset to replace the two existing councils. Having just one rather than two district councils would save at least another £0.5m a year. This again is money that can be used to help protect vital services.
The proposal for a single council would result in fewer councillors, less red tape and less duplication but help maintain front line services as far as possible.
The proposal to create a new council and the transformation programme (changing how we do things) are both major projects. They will allow us to become more efficient and deliver services for less cost in the future. We will need to invest around £6.8m to cover the one-off costs of modernisation, technology and so on and £0.3m to create the new council. We should see a return on that investment in just over two years with ongoing annual savings of £3.1m.
The decision on whether the new Council can be created rests with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to whom the councils will submit their proposal in early 2017.
More detailed information about our transformation vision is contained within the high level transformation business case which is available to view or download at www.yournewcouncil.org/BusinessCase