How does local government work now?
Right now, the picture of local government in York and North Yorkshire is quite complex.
We have different types of councils that do different things. There is a county council covering the whole of North Yorkshire, which provides services such as roads, social care and libraries. There are seven district and borough councils that each cover a smaller area and are responsible for services such housing, waste and recycling collection, planning applications, leisure and recreation, collecting local taxes and providing housing and council tax benefits. These councils also provide many services that are not part of their statutory responsibilities, for example: helping vulnerable people, supporting communities, engaging with businesses, delivering strategies and projects to encourage economic growth.
There is also a small unitary council that provides all services for the city of York.
The Government has announced that local councils in North Yorkshire will be reorganised to form one council across the whole of the county, covering a population of 618,000. The announcement leaves York as a separate, small unitary council with 211,000.
The Government decision follows a consultation held earlier this year on the future of local government in North Yorkshire and York.
Government ministers had told councils in July 2020 that they wished to see local government in the area reorganised into unitary councils, which would provide all services to residents.
The six district and borough councils of Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby had joined together to propose an East & West model of local government.
Craven, Harrogate, Richmondshire and Hambleton would have formed a unitary council in the West, with a population of 363,000, and Selby, City of York, Ryedale and Scarborough would have formed a unitary council in the East, with a population of 465,000.
However, the Government has decided not to implement the East & West proposal, and instead has accepted North Yorkshire County Council’s bid to create one council across the whole of the county.
What happens next?
North Yorkshire County Council and the district and borough councils of Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby will continue to operate until March 2023.
After this, they will cease to exist and the new unitary authority will come into operation.
Council staff will continue to be employed by their current council until March 2023, after which the vast majority will be transferred to the new authority.