It's simple, really.
Creating one unitary council for Buckinghamshire would improve services and put an end to the confusion over who does what, currently caused by having both district and county councils.
There'd be one website and phone number for customers to use, with services delivered across a county boundary residents are already familiar with.
And that simplicity would make services better and more joined-up. That's because services which would complement one another, but are currently divided between the district and county councils, can be brought together.
- There would be much more co-ordination between housing growth and infrastructure. Currently we have the nonsensical situation where the districts decide how many new homes should be built and where, but the county provides the roads, schools and high speed broadband to ensure those developments are sustainable.
- Bin collection and street cleaning, currently carried out by the districts, would be integrated with the county's waste disposal responsibilities, which includes Household Waste and Recycling Centres, landfills and the Energy from Waste Plant at Greatmoor. This would massively improve efficiencies and consistency, lead to better co-ordination against flytipping and should help improve Buckinghamshire's recycling rates.
- Environmental health, a district responsibility which includes pollution control and food safety, could be integrated with Public Health, which commissions a range of services to help people lead healthier lives and is currently delivered by the county, alongside Trading Standards, which ensures product safety. Public Health could also play a greater role in planning for new housing, ensuring developments offer the best standards of housing and encourage healthy living.
- One Buckinghamshire-wide unitary council would create a strong platform for regional collaboration on issues such as transport and health.
A single-Bucks wide unitary authority is also easier to set-up than alternative models and would avoid disruption to residents and local businesses.
Just look at our graphic below to see just how many services are currently delivered across Buckinghamshire:
In terms of practicality, the one Unitary [county-wide] option fares well based on the potential relative simplicity of creating a single organisation.
As most of the services currently in the County are likely to remain unaffected, impact on services under this option should be minimal."
Independent 2014 report by EY, commissioned by Buckinghamshire Business First