COPELAND Council has welcomed the opportunity to change the way council services are delivered in Cumbria.
In December 2020, four proposals were submitted to Government, from the seven councils in Cumbria, outlining their preferred model for a local government reorganisation.
In February 2021, the Government launched an eight-week consultation on all four of the proposals made by Cumbrian authorities.
Today, (Wednesday) the Government announced that it has chosen to progress the model outlined in a joint submission between Copeland and Allerdale Borough Councils.
The new model will deliver greater integration between areas, improve service delivery and outcomes for the community, while offering strong local leadership, accountability and representation. The model proposed would also offer a more simplified structure and remove duplication, while generating efficiencies.
The new model will be two unitary authorities; Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland form one authority, and Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland the other. The unitary authorities will carry out all the services in their area, and replace the current two-tier system of a county council and six districts.
Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “We welcome the decision to make significant changes to the way Cumbria is governed and we commit to working together to make this a real success for every member of our community.
“This change gives us the opportunity to improve service delivery in Cumbria, and service to our communities.
“Our bid included a proposal that the two unitaries will be a combined authority (made up of the leadership of each unitary) and led by a Directly Elected Mayor for Cumbria, that objective remains.
“We want devolved powers and this is the route to the full range of powers and therefore opportunities to level up.
“We will work closely with our collective workforce, Elected Members, partners and suppliers to ensure the smooth transition to the new model.
“I want to reassure our communities, businesses and residents that we will continue to deliver excellent services and support them through the transition period.”
All councils in Cumbria will now work together, with Government, to plan and enact the transitional arrangements.
A joint transition plan will be created ensuring that the focus remains on service delivery and improvement, whilst realising all of the benefits set out in the proposal to Government.
It is expected that the two new unitaries with be vested in April 2023.