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Press releases - 2021

A new website has been launched to explain more about a major reorganisation of local government in Cumbria.

The website - newcouncilsforcumbria.info - has lots of useful information about the complex process to create two brand new councils for the county.

From 1 April 2023 the current six district councils and Cumbria County Council will be replaced with two new 'unitary' councils. The intended names for the two new councils are:

  • Cumberland Council will cover the current Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland council areas.
  • Westmorland and Furness Council 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.

The changes aim to:

  • Improve services for local people, making them more effective and efficient with a greater integration of planning and delivery activities.
  • Provide greater clarity for residents on their democratic representation, making local authorities even more accountable to the people they serve with more effective governance arrangements.
  • Provide a stronger voice to central government.
  • Attract inward investment into our communities.

Since the UK Government announced its decision in July to reorganise local government in Cumbria, work has been ongoing on the first steps of this huge transition.

All seven existing local authorities, supported by the Government, are collaborating on the programme to create the new Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness authorities. 

This entails a considerable amount of work to ensure that people in Cumbria receive the high level of service and delivery they expect and deserve. 

The new website explains the process and the timeline and will include updates on the work of the Local Government Reorganisation Programme.

A spokesperson for the Cumbria Local Government Reorganisation Programme Board, said: "We know there is a great deal of interest in the reorganisation process, among residents, businesses and organisations.

"This is a hugely complex undertaking and will affect everyone who lives, works, does business or studies in Cumbria. It is the most significant change to the structures of local government in this area for a generation. 

"The programme will involve officers and councillors from all seven existing councils and we are determined to create the right platform for the new Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness councils to thrive.

"All those involved in leading this project are committed to ensuring that local people are engaged in this process as we move towards April 2023 and the new website will be an integral part of that.'' 

Cumbria's councils have now received the draft Structural Changes Order from Government which provides some additional detail about the two new councils.

In the document, the Government has confirmed its intention to name the two new councils.

  • For the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland areas the council's name will be Cumberland Council.
  • For the Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland areas the council's name will be Westmorland and Furness Council.

Other details shared in the draft SCO include:

The number of councillors each council will potentially have:

  • Cumberland Council will have 46 members.
  • Westmorland and Furness Council will have 65 members.

Elections for the two new councils, as Shadow Authorities, will take place in May 2022 and then in 2027 and every four years thereafter.

Joint Committees (one for Cumberland and one for Westmorland and Furness) will be established and each one will have 12 members - three from Cumbria County Council, three from each of the district councils in that area. So, in total 12 members each.

Joint Committees are responsible for the preparatory work to establish the Shadow Authorities and overseeing the implementation planning until Shadow Authorities are elected. The Joint Committees will be dissolved once the Shadow Authorities and Executives for the two new councils are established.

A Shadow Authority is an 'authority' which is appointed or elected to shape the two new councils ready for vesting on 1 April 2023. When the new councils go live on 1 April 2023 the Shadow Authorities are also then dissolved.

All of the information laid out in the draft SCO is still subject to Parliamentary approval which is likely to take place in March.

Finally, the programme management process will continue as it is - a single programme management board to oversee the implementation of the two new councils.

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