Local Government Reorganisation

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2006 Local Government Service Group Conference
24 February 2006

This Conference is alarmed at the most recent developments in the continuing saga of reorganising the structure of local government in England. Ad hoc consultations with Council leaders and Chief Executives and statements appearing to favour some form of neighbourhood governance have undermined confidence in the Government’s ability to promote a clear strategy for finding a robust long-term solution for the future of local government structures. We believe there is a serious danger of misplaced notions of consumer choice replacing principles of local democracy.

Local government employees are particularly concerned at proposals which appear to threaten the long-established procedures and agreements which govern their terms and conditions of employment.

UNISON believes some clear principles should guide future policy:

1)Local government should be accountable to local people through the process of regular local elections

2)Councils should be large enough to deliver effective and efficient local services, rather than just commission them

3)Local councils should set high standards in employment practices

4)Any structures should be capable of developing and strengthening established patterns of consultation and negotiation.

Conference calls on the National Local Government Service Group Executive to engage with Ministers at the highest level to discuss these principles and to ensure that the issue of reorganising local government is debated openly, with proper consultation with all interested parties, including unions representing the workforce.