A report commissioned by Mendip DC, Sedgemoor DC, South Somerset DC, Somerset West & Taunton Council, along with the county council says a single, unitary authority for Somerset would deliver a predicted saving of £35-£47m. A second model involving the councils working closely together would deliver predicted savings of £10m-£32m.
However, an internal team drawn from the five councils – the Somerset Internal Consultancy Team says that while the ‘one unitary’ option would save £47m, a collaborative ‘get fit and share – and then new ways of working model’ would save £32-£48m. A spokesman for South Somerset DC told the MJ that this internal analysis was ‘based on more up to date analysis’ than the figures in the Ignite Consortia report, which ‘date from an analysis completed in January 2019’.
The councils have agreed to work to achieving changes by 2022. The next step will be to develop a business case for the collaborative work, with public reports going before the councils next month.