We need 'One Voice' for Worcestershire, says council

Evesham Journal: County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

A NEW 'One Voice' campaign is kicking off in Worcestershire - amid fears the county is missing out on millions of potential funding.

Worcestershire County Council wants to launch a new campaign aimed at bringing together the entire public sector.

It will call for "a better deal" for the district councils, NHS, police and fire service, uniting all the county's key players to speak as one.

The campaign follows years of concern that Worcestershire is getting a raw deal from Whitehall for public services, particularly in education where out of 151 areas, the county languishes at 146.

The Government has pledged to make school funding fairer before the 2015 general election but concerns are growing about other services too.

The county council and Hereford & Worcestershire Fire & Rescue Service are also in the bottom third in terms of national funding grants.

During a full council meeting, politicians of all parties agreed to back a motion calling for 'One Voice' to be co-ordinated by the Conservative leadership County Hall.

Councillor Peter McDonald, Labour group leader, said: "As every day goes by we become more like a third world country.

"The only way we will get better is if we come together and all join up to get Worcestershire a better deal."

Councillor Alan Amos, also from Labour said it was time that all politicians came together "with a common purpose".

He said: "As politicians we often have a difference of opinion, of philosophy, but that's good because that's democracy.

"But the work we do, in committees and panels, means we often come together in common agreement, although of course that is rarely seen by the general public."

County council funding per head for people in Worcestershire, directly from the Government, is £227 compared to £248 nationally, and due to unprecedented cuts the authority needs to save around £99 million by 2018.

The motion, created by Labour, was voted through after some amendments by the Conservatives so it mentioned past efforts to get better funding.

Councillor John Campion, Conservative cabinet member for transformation and commissioning said: "I absolutely think this needs to be sorted out.

"It was a failure of the last Labour Government not to do that, and a failure of the current one not to make funding more transparent."

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health, added: "I do think we have a cross-party duty to lobby the Government - as a mixed county, urban and rural, we should fight for fairer funding."

Comments (8)

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10:05am Tue 18 Feb 14

Ted Elgar says...

We need a unitary authority more like.
have been blighted by the various little fiefdoms locally for too long.
Bring on the big local government; it is the only way we will ever get sensible planning decisions.
We need a unitary authority more like. have been blighted by the various little fiefdoms locally for too long. Bring on the big local government; it is the only way we will ever get sensible planning decisions. Ted Elgar

10:59am Tue 18 Feb 14

CJH says...

Hoping they'll all work together? Dream on...they can't even work individually. It'll need a team of consultants and a CHIEF chief executive to implement this.
Hoping they'll all work together? Dream on...they can't even work individually. It'll need a team of consultants and a CHIEF chief executive to implement this. CJH

1:29pm Tue 18 Feb 14

3thinker says...

Ted Elgar wrote:
We need a unitary authority more like.
have been blighted by the various little fiefdoms locally for too long.
Bring on the big local government; it is the only way we will ever get sensible planning decisions.
I totally agree.

Having one County and six District Councils is an expensive luxury the council taxpayers can no longer afford. It leads to unhelpful infighting and a lack of agreement on a collective way forward.

Most of the major cities have had Unitary status for years. Herefordshire and south Gloucestershire voluntarily converted to Unitary status. Cheshire split itself into two Uniatries. Leicestershire is looking at this to save £30M a year. Warwickshire announced this week that it will be giving it serious consideration. Even Liverpool's City Region is looking to merge all the authorities in the area.

Perhaps time for councillors locally to be "BOLD' and do the right thing and covert Worcestershire and its districts to a Unitary council. In this way the savings could be used to protect vital services and overnight you'd create "One Voice" for Worcestershire.
[quote][p][bold]Ted Elgar[/bold] wrote: We need a unitary authority more like. have been blighted by the various little fiefdoms locally for too long. Bring on the big local government; it is the only way we will ever get sensible planning decisions.[/p][/quote]I totally agree. Having one County and six District Councils is an expensive luxury the council taxpayers can no longer afford. It leads to unhelpful infighting and a lack of agreement on a collective way forward. Most of the major cities have had Unitary status for years. Herefordshire and south Gloucestershire voluntarily converted to Unitary status. Cheshire split itself into two Uniatries. Leicestershire is looking at this to save £30M a year. Warwickshire announced this week that it will be giving it serious consideration. Even Liverpool's City Region is looking to merge all the authorities in the area. Perhaps time for councillors locally to be "BOLD' and do the right thing and covert Worcestershire and its districts to a Unitary council. In this way the savings could be used to protect vital services and overnight you'd create "One Voice" for Worcestershire. 3thinker

1:53pm Tue 18 Feb 14

skychip says...

Agree with above, too expensive to run a County Council and six districts, too much duplication of services.
Agree with above, too expensive to run a County Council and six districts, too much duplication of services. skychip

1:54pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Fishy says...

3thinker wrote:
Ted Elgar wrote: We need a unitary authority more like. have been blighted by the various little fiefdoms locally for too long. Bring on the big local government; it is the only way we will ever get sensible planning decisions.I totally agree. Having one County and six District Councils is an expensive luxury the council taxpayers can no longer afford. It leads to unhelpful infighting and a lack of agreement on a collective way forward. Most of the major cities have had Unitary status for years. Herefordshire and south Gloucestershire voluntarily converted to Unitary status. Cheshire split itself into two Uniatries. Leicestershire is looking at this to save £30M a year. Warwickshire announced this week that it will be giving it serious consideration. Even Liverpool's City Region is looking to merge all the authorities in the area. Perhaps time for councillors locally to be "BOLD' and do the right thing and covert Worcestershire and its districts to a Unitary council. In this way the savings could be used to protect vital services and overnight you'd createI heard that unitary authorities were no longer being created.
[quote][p][bold]3thinker[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ted Elgar[/bold] wrote: We need a unitary authority more like. have been blighted by the various little fiefdoms locally for too long. Bring on the big local government; it is the only way we will ever get sensible planning decisions.[/p][/quote]I totally agree. Having one County and six District Councils is an expensive luxury the council taxpayers can no longer afford. It leads to unhelpful infighting and a lack of agreement on a collective way forward. Most of the major cities have had Unitary status for years. Herefordshire and south Gloucestershire voluntarily converted to Unitary status. Cheshire split itself into two Uniatries. Leicestershire is looking at this to save £30M a year. Warwickshire announced this week that it will be giving it serious consideration. Even Liverpool's City Region is looking to merge all the authorities in the area. Perhaps time for councillors locally to be "BOLD' and do the right thing and covert Worcestershire and its districts to a Unitary council. In this way the savings could be used to protect vital services and overnight you'd createI heard that unitary authorities were no longer being created. Fishy

8:42pm Tue 18 Feb 14

F1 Dave says...

Yep most people can understand the plus points of a Unitary Council.
But this is the problem when this question was put to Mr Hardman he said that councillors had no will to do this.
Yep that's right, why would the likes of Hardman and many other councillors want to give up being paid twice. One big fat pay out for being a County Councillor and another pay day for being a District Councillor.
Its the other people that can take the cuts, after all these self important Councillors love to LORD it over the people of Worcestershire. Lie after Lie is told by them to the people. Example of this is the statement that the Council will do all it can to help the residents surrounding County Hall with car parking problems.
Well this is there help, soon all the staff at the Defra site at Whittington will be moving into County Hall. Yep no extra Car Parking.
Yep most people can understand the plus points of a Unitary Council. But this is the problem when this question was put to Mr Hardman he said that councillors had no will to do this. Yep that's right, why would the likes of Hardman and many other councillors want to give up being paid twice. One big fat pay out for being a County Councillor and another pay day for being a District Councillor. Its the other people that can take the cuts, after all these self important Councillors love to LORD it over the people of Worcestershire. Lie after Lie is told by them to the people. Example of this is the statement that the Council will do all it can to help the residents surrounding County Hall with car parking problems. Well this is there help, soon all the staff at the Defra site at Whittington will be moving into County Hall. Yep no extra Car Parking. F1 Dave

8:59pm Tue 18 Feb 14

3thinker says...

To be fair. I do think councillors should be given reasonable expenses for the important work they do.

What I don't understand is why we need so many councils and so many councillors and especially as Council budgets, staff and services reduce.

Having a single Unitary Council for Worcestershire is the rational thing to do if costs are to be cut, economies of scale are to be realised and decision making and wasteful 'political' in-fighting between Districts and County are to be reduced.
To be fair. I do think councillors should be given reasonable expenses for the important work they do. What I don't understand is why we need so many councils and so many councillors and especially as Council budgets, staff and services reduce. Having a single Unitary Council for Worcestershire is the rational thing to do if costs are to be cut, economies of scale are to be realised and decision making and wasteful 'political' in-fighting between Districts and County are to be reduced. 3thinker

7:36am Wed 19 Feb 14

rackedoff says...

Wow - a reformation in Worcestershire's oversized public sector - 7 councils to 1, 3 NHS clinical commissioning groups to 1, 2 NHS trusts to 1 and a fire service that covers Worcestershire, Shropshire, Telford and Herefordshire jist like the police and probation service - now that would save money in the mid to long term. Just somehow I do not see that happening until someone in Government tells them to - maybe a response to Worcestershire's 'united ' voice for more funding, After all Tory led Worcestershire County Council has been labelled a 'democracy dodging' council by Eric Pickles for raising Council tax without a referendum - so one wouldn't expect much sympathy from government unless our democratically elected leaders or perhaps one of the chief executives with the foresight and skills (The newly appointed Clare Marchant sounds just the person) steps up to the challenge!!!!
Wow - a reformation in Worcestershire's oversized public sector - 7 councils to 1, 3 NHS clinical commissioning groups to 1, 2 NHS trusts to 1 and a fire service that covers Worcestershire, Shropshire, Telford and Herefordshire jist like the police and probation service - now that would save money in the mid to long term. Just somehow I do not see that happening until someone in Government tells them to - maybe a response to Worcestershire's 'united ' voice for more funding, After all Tory led Worcestershire County Council has been labelled a 'democracy dodging' council by Eric Pickles for raising Council tax without a referendum - so one wouldn't expect much sympathy from government unless our democratically elected leaders or perhaps one of the chief executives with the foresight and skills (The newly appointed Clare Marchant sounds just the person) steps up to the challenge!!!! rackedoff

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