Key milestone met for local government reorganisation in Cumbria

Changes to local government in Cumbria took a big step forward this week with the announcement by the government that the parliamentary order which sets out the legal basis of the move had come into force.

The Structural Changes Order (SCO) completed its passage through both houses of Parliament this week and received the ministerial signature yesterday.

The SCO sets out the process of creating the two new councils and provides the legal basis on which to implement the change to local government structures.

From vesting day on 1 April 2023 the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced with two new ‘unitary’ councils. The names for the two new councils are:

  • Cumberland Council which will cover the current Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland council areas.
  • Westmorland and Furness Council which will cover the current Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland council areas.

The two new councils will be responsible for services currently provided in those areas by the district councils and the county council.

Elections for the new authorities will be held on 5 May 2022. After the elections two Shadow Authorities will be formed who will make decisions on the creation of the two new councils up to vesting day.

A spokesperson for the Cumbria Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) Programme Board, said: “This is a major development in our programme which confirms the details of the LGR process and puts it into law.

“Whilst today’s news is very important, work on reorganisation is already very much underway with teams of officers and councillors from all of Cumbria’s current councils working together on what is perhaps the most significant development in local government in Cumbria for a generation.

“This reorganisation of local government represents a great opportunity to re-think how services are delivered, looking at how they can be better joined-up and with the flexibility and efficiency to provide better outcomes for our communities.”

More information on the process and what it means for the people of Cumbria can be found on the LGR website: https://newcouncilsforcumbria.info/default.asp

The SCO requires that two joint committees are established ahead of the formation of the Shadow Authorities. The Westmorland and Furness joint committee is due to hold its first meeting on 29 March. The Cumberland Joint Committee is due to meet on 30 March.

More details of the meetings can be found at: https://newcouncilsforcumbria.info/Joint_Committees.asp

Residents who wish to vote in the upcoming elections in May, and who are not registered to vote are encouraged to register as soon as possible at: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Notes:

Key dates for the upcoming elections:

  • Notice of election is due to be published on 28 March 2022
  • The deadline for nominations to stand for election is 4pm on Tuesday 5 April 2022
  • The deadline to register to vote in time for the elections is midnight on Thursday 14 April 2022.
  • The deadline for changes to existing proxy applications is 5pm on Tuesday 19 April 2022.
  • The deadline for new proxy applications is 5pm on Tuesday 26 April 2022.
  • The election for the new unitary authorities will be held on 5 May 2022.

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