a) How will “One Place One Budget” deliver better public services, reverse decades of centralisation and revitalise UK democracy?
b) Does “One Place One Budget” naturally lead to a Unitary Authority approach across Somerset to reduce management overheads and duplication?
c) Trade Unions believe that directly delivered public services under the control and management of democratic local authorities is the best model. How will “One Place One Budget” ensure that public services are accountable and open?
a) “One Place, One Budget” is about coordinating services so they reflect the needs of local people, and become more efficient and effective. The movement of budgets away from central Government to local public services will also create clearer and stronger democratic accountability because local leaders will be responsible for them.
b) “One Place One Budget” is about partnership, not Unitary Status. In fact Somerset County Council has strong partnerships with other local authorities in the South West, as well as other public and private sector partners. These partnerships deliver better and more efficient services, reduce overheads and avoid duplication of effort.
c) “One Place, One Budget” recommends devolving budgets and responsibility from Whitehall Departments to the local public sector. As I have outlined above, local democracy and transparency would be strengthened by such an arrangement: local people and local democracy instead of central Government.
d) “One Place, One Budget” is also about obtaining fairer funding for the services we currently run and for any future services Government may ask us to run.
Cllr John Osman