Council Leader speaks out about local government reform

Council Leader, Steve Fritchley has spoken out about what might be local government reform proposals.

He believes reform is needed, but from grass roots level up and not central government down.

Central government are due to issue a White Paper on local government reform soon and Derbyshire County Council have put forward a Vision Derbyshire proposal.

Although Councillor Fritchley has agreed to the concept and to talk to the Secretary of State he remains concerned about the sovereignty of the District Council and protection of staff’s jobs.

He said, “I put forward amendments that were agreed and have now signed up to the concept of Vision Derbyshire and collaboration, but there is still work ahead to get the proposal right for our local communities and for local government not to be to detached from our constituents.

“Local government does need reform but not to the level the government seem to be proposing. The awaited White Paper is central government wanting to take away the powers from local people and from councils who are at grass roots level and are best placed to respond to local needs.”

We have a proven track record of partnership working and collaboration including:

  • We have one of the most successful partnerships (Bolsover Partnership) in the country working with over 20 partners.
  • We have had a strategic alliance with neighbouring authority North East Derbyshire sharing a senior management team and specific services since 2011.
  • We share services such as ICT, Internal Audit, Procurement and Building Control with up to five other councils.
  • We actively work closely with our Conservative MP to get the best results for the District and its local communities.

Steve added, “We are no stranger to working in partnership as we have been doing it successfully for years. Local government provides a place for people to express their opinions and have their voices heard and if we go down the route of larger authorities covering larger areas this simply won’t happen anymore.

“I’m not talking political philosophy here, it’s not left or right. It’s the erosion of local democracy.”

Councillor Deborah Watson, the Council’s Independent Leader of the opposition and Cabinet Member for Environmental Health agrees with these sentiments and said, “I passionately support the concept of working together and indeed this has proved extremely successful here at Bolsover.

“But we must remember that this is of course underpinned by effective good quality representation for the residents of this District. Our constituents need to have faith and trust that the people who do represent them, both fully understand and care about the issues which affect them at a local level.”

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