In May 2018 the order to create a new, single district-level council forSomerset West and Taunton were signed into law by the Secretary of State for Housing,Communities and Local Government confirming that the new Council would be created on 1 April 2019 and elections to the new Council wouldtake place on 2 May 2019.
The order that created the new Somerset West and Taunton Council provided for theestablishment of a Shadow Authority and Shadow Executive to operate beforeSomerset West and Taunton Council takes on full responsibility on 1 April 2019.
Regulation 11 of The Somerset West and Taunton (Local Government Changes) Order 2018 provides that the Shadow Authority must prepare, keep under review, and revise as necessary an Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan must include such plans, timetables and budgets as the Authority considers necessary to facilitate the economic, effective, efficient and timely discharge, on or after 1 April 2019, of the functions that, before that date, are the District Councils’ functions.
The Shadow Authority must approve the Implementation Plan and delegate the functions conferred on it by Regulation 11 of the Changes Order to the Shadow Executive. Therefore, the Shadow Executive is responsible for keeping the Implementation Plan under review, and revising it, as necessary.
The focus of the Implementation Plan was to ensure the new council is legal, safe and functioning from 1 April 2019.
The Plan sought to identify all of the actions necessary to meet these objectives.
Due to the legislative path that is being followed to create the new council, there is no precedent regarding the individual elements that an Implementation Plan should include nor what form the Plan should take.
Officers have shared the initial draft with MHCLG officials and have also looked at the approach being adopted by other councils currently in the process of creating new councils who are following the same legislative path as ourselves, in order to help shape the content of our Plan.
At a high level, the Plan focuses on ensuring Somerset West and Taunton Council:-
· has the staff and contracts in place to deliver services to our community;
· can make lawful decisions (constitution, strategies, plans and policies);
· holds the necessary insurances, licences and permits to operate;
· has the necessary governance arrangements in place (statutory officers, auditors, committees);
· can order necessary goods and services;
· can pay its suppliers, members and staff;
· can set, bill and collect income.
During the discussion of this item Members made comments and statements and asked questions, and the following main points were raised:
· There were considered to be no new risks with the implementation plan still meeting the existing timetable.
· Representation on outside bodies was still to be finalised in documentation, This would be followed up with Christine Fraser and an update provided to Councillors.
· In light of the current transition in the Council an update was requested relating to the Transformation Programme and Programme Management within the Council.
RESOLVED that: the Shadow Executive noted the progress of the New Council Implementation Plan.