Published:

A radical proposal for reorganisation and shared services in Kirklees and Calderdale has been made by the Conservative opposition on the two councils.

The Halifax Courier reports:

Under the proposals announced formally today, Councillors Robert Light and Stephen Baines, leaders of the Kirklees and Calderdale Conservative parties, revealed that Kirklees would be “wiped from the map” and replaced by Dewsbury and Spenborough council in the north, and Greater Huddersfield in the south.

Those two councils plus Calderdale would then come together to share some services, including Children’s Services, Adults, Health and Social Care, Transport Investment, Commissioning and Resources.

The joint councils would also share a Chief Executive and five other directors – four fewer than Kirklees and Calderdale currently have between them. Each council would be separate entity responsible for delivering their own neighbourhood services from their respective Town Halls, and each council would have its own leader and cabinet.

While the number of councils would increase from two to three the number of councillors would go down. Calderdale will remain as a Metropolitan Council under its present boundaries, but with a reduction in  councillors from 51 to 36 to make the electoral wards equal in size to the Kirklees Wards.

I have seen the detailed proposals which argue that increasing the number of councils would strengthen localism and democracy. This is in contrast to the usual objection to sharing services that local accountability is lost.

So far as savings are concerned it won't just ben the  senior directors:

With the creation of ‘pan’ Council Directorates there will be the opportunity for a major restructure of second and third tier officer management which will deliver significant financial savings.

Through a shared management system and greater efficiencies of scale for major services we believe that savings of more than £2.5 million a year can be achieved and that, through more effective ways of working, services close to communities, which otherwise would be cut in future years, will be maintained.

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