Cabinet gives green light to Government blueprint for new unitary Council for Buckinghamshire.

Cabinet gives green light to Government blueprint for new unitary Council for Buckinghamshire.

Today’s special Cabinet meeting formally agreed the County Council’s consent to the making of all the necessary legal regulations by the Government to create a single new unitary council for Buckinghamshire, on the basis of further details provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

In a letter to all five councils sent on January 7, Secretary of State, James Brokenshire sets out the key building blocks for the new ‘Buckinghamshire Council’ contained in the draft legislation. They include:

– the name of the new council will be ‘Buckinghamshire Council’ and it will have 147 councillors

– elections for the new council will take place in May 2020

– a temporary ‘shadow’ authority will be formed, with all current county and district councillors having a seat on this body; the shadow authority will set the 2020/21 council tax and budget. Leadership will be provided by a 17 seat shadow executive with the Leader of the County Council as its chairman

– an implementation team, led by the County Council Chief Executive and with a district Chief Executive as deputy, will be established to manage the smooth transfer of services and staff to the new Council.

Providing at least one of the five councils involved gives its consent, the regulations that allow the Secretary of State to accept a proposal for change can be laid before Parliament on 14 January 2019; the draft legislation that sets out the detail of how this will take place will then be laid before Parliament a few weeks later and will come into force later in the Spring, to allow the new unitary council to be up and running by April 2020.

Speaking after the meeting, County Council Leader Martin Tett said:

“This is an important step forward in the process to the creation of a new council for Buckinghamshire. Whilst these legal processes have to take place I want to remind everyone that this is absolutely about residents – improving services for the people we are elected to serve. This must not be about us. It’s about creating a simpler, better value, and more local council for residents, businesses  and partners and being able to speak with a stronger single voice nationally; a council fit for the future.

Timing to get the new council up and running is tight, so I’m asking the District Councils to work with us on this for our residents and our staff to deliver the brand new Council that Buckinghamshire deserves and make the most of the opportunities for all from this historic change.”

NEWS FROM BCC

County Council plans health partnership to modernise residential short breaks

Consultation is about to start on the modernisation of Buckinghamshire’s residential short breaks (respite) service for adults. Cabinet members agreed [Monday 7 January 2019] to a six week consultation starting 16 January 2019.

Currently the service is located at Seeley’s House in Beaconsfield and offers overnight breaks for up to eight vulnerable adults at any one time. The plan, if agreed, is to move to a more suitable location in Aylesbury and commission a new service in partnership with health. The Council has reached a joint funding agreement with the Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group. This means that, regardless of who is funding their care, those who need it can access the service.

Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “The reasons for wanting to move are very clear, the current building has a very limited shelf life, is not suitable for renovation and is far too expensive to maintain. On the other hand the building in Aylesbury is currently under-used and offers an affordable opportunity to improve the service.

“We are viewing this as a service improvement. It’s about moving our residential short breaks service to a more suitable and accessible building. The new service will provide safe, quality care for those with the most complex needs – in a purpose built environment.”

Provision of the new service would mean temporarily closing Aylesbury Opportunities Centre for 12 months while a partial rebuild takes place. Current service users will be supported to find alternative day activities and transition to the new service when it opens in August 2020. A residential short breaks service will continue at Seeleys House Beaconsfield until transition to the new service is complete.

Parents, carers and services users (both current and future) are being asked to give their views about the proposed plans for adult residential short breaks at a series of events as follows:

23 January 2019 7pm – 9pm Seeleys House
24 January 2019 1pm – 3pm Seeleys House
28 January 2019 10am – 12pm Aylesbury Opportunities Centre
4 February 2019 6pm – 8pm Aylesbury Opportunities Centre

Lin continues: “This is an opportunity for people to hear about our plans in greater detail, tell us what they think, and check we have considered their specific concerns. If you are unable to get to an event you can still give your views by emailing  us at shortbreaks@buckscc.gov.uk or calling us on 01296 383 122 and leaving a message.”

For more information and how to have your say go www.buckscc.gov.uk/shortbreaksforadults

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