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Local Government Reorganisation information

New councils

The current structure of councils in Cumbria is changing. The seven established Cumbrian authorities will transition to two new unitary authorities on April 1, 2023.

The new unitaries will provide council services for their areas. Currently services are split between districts and a county council.

The areas of Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland will be serviced by Cumberland Council, with Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland coming under Westmorland and Furness Council

The services currently provided by Cumbria County Council will be delivered by both of the new unitary authorities, and work is underway to establish exactly how this will happen.

Details of the Local Government Reorganisation process can be found on the new councils for Cumbria website.

All councils in Cumbria are currently committed to working together to establish how the best possible services can be provided for residents when the two new authorities are formed in 2023.


No current vacancies. 


In May 2022, 46 new councillors were elected to the Shadow Authority for Cumberland Council, with 65 new councillors elected to the Shadow Authority for Westmorland and Furness Council.

The councillors will serve on the shadow authorities until the two new councils are introduced, on April 1, 2023. They will then serve the new authorities for a term of four years.

Shadow authorities allow local representatives (councillors) to make important decisions around services for Cumbria, and the new councils, ahead of them going live on April 1, 2023.

Why change?

  • The current council structure could not continue. It is not financially sustainable in the long-term, does not provide value for money, creates duplication, and is confusing for our residents.
  • A change is necessary to improve financial sustainability, remove duplication, increase collaboration between geographical areas and focus on integrated service delivery.
  • Without change, the Government’s levelling up and devolution agenda cannot take effect, which allows councils to draw down more money and powers locally, and Cumbria is in danger of being left behind.
  • The right platform and structure needs to be created to allow the area to prosper, unlock growth and to facilitate the levelling-up agenda through devolution.

Why a two-unitary model?

  • It will provide a strong, single voice for the area.
  • It will create a structure that is large enough to receive devolved powers, but small enough that important links with residents and businesses will be maintained.
  • It will provide leadership, local identity and accessibility; the leadership will be close to the people they represent
  • Copeland and Allerdale already have shared social and economic history, transport links and housing markets.

Public consultation

The Government consulted on all four unitary authority proposals made by Cumbrian authorities in December 2020. These were:

- Two unitary authorities – one for West Cumbria (made up of Copeland, Allerdale and Carlisle) and one for East Cumbria (made of Eden, Barrow and South Lakeland). This proposal was submitted by Copeland Borough Council and Allerdale Borough Council.

- Two unitary authorities – one for North Cumbria (made up of Carlisle, Eden and Allerdale) and one for South Cumbria (made up of Copeland, Barrow and South Lakeland). This proposal was submitted by Carlisle City Council and Eden District Council.

- The ‘Bay’ model of two unitary authorities – one for the Bay area (made up of Barrow, South Lakeland and Lancaster) and one for North Cumbria (made up of Copeland, Allerdale, Carlisle and Eden). This proposal was submitted by Barrow Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council.

- One unitary authority for the whole of Cumbria. This proposal was submitted by Cumbria County Council.

The consultation ended on April 19, 2021.

View our response to the consultation.

More information

For more information regarding the Local Government Reorganisation email

For press enquiries email or