It’s the last week for people to have their say on the future of local government in Somerset as the Government’s consultation draws to a close.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MGCLG) is asking for views on proposals to replace Somerset’s five existing councils with a new unitary system.
The consultation formally closes on 19 April after an eight-week period and is the only recognised route for people to make their voice heard.
It is open to everyone to have their say whether they are responding as a resident, business or on behalf of a wider group. All views expressed will help inform the Secretary of State’s decision on what the future of local government in Somerset will look like.
The Government is consulting on two options:
Somerset County Council’s proposal – called One Somerset – that would see the four district councils and the county council replaced with a single new unitary authority. So, replacing five existing councils with one new organisation.
A proposal by the four district councils – called Stronger Somerset – that would replace Somerset’s existing five councils with two new unitary authorities in the east and west of the county, outsourced children’s services to an Alternative Delivery Model, a shared services company, and a combined authority for the area. So, replacing five existing councils with five new organisations.
A spokesperson for Somerset County Council said: “The Government’s consultation is open to all – and it’s incredibly important that everyone has their say to make sure their voice is heard. Responding is quick and easy and is the only formally recognised route people can get across their views to Government, who will take the final decision on the future of local government in Somerset in the coming months.
“This decision is critical for the future of local democracy and public services in Somerset, particularly as we move into the post pandemic recovery phase. Creating a fit for purpose local government structure in the county will be crucial to improving people’s lives, including in attracting future investment and jobs to our county.”
You can take part via the Government’s online platform ‘Citizen Space’ or by email or post. Please visit https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/somerset/ to complete online.
Written responses should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by post to:
Governance Reform and Democracy
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
2 Marsham Street
If you are responding in email or writing, please make it clear that you are responding about the Somerset consultation.
More information on the One Somerset proposal can be found at: www.onesomerset.org.uk
More information on the Stronger Somerset proposal can be found at: www.strongersomerset.co.uk