Council boss admits he didn’t know how reforms would ‘pan out’ as Durham County Council shake-up took place
Council chiefs have hailed a decade of local government reform in County Durham – and admitted they were unsure at the time how things would ‘pan out’.
This year marks 10 years since the old ‘two-tier’ system in the county was overhauled in favour of a single unitary authority.
The move, which included the abolition of the seven former district councils and was supposed to save about £20million, saw the authority named the Local Government Chronicle’s ‘Council of the Year’ in 2014.
At the same time, government austerity since 2010 has forced Durham County Council to slash about £244million from its budgets – a figure which is expected to rise to more than £280million within four years.
“We should be congratulating what we’ve achieved as a council over 10 years,” Coun Alan Napier, the county council’s deputy leader told Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
“We were probably a disjointed county before we became a unitary authority.
“I didn’t know how this would pan out, but within a very short time we were council of the year.
“On top of that we saw one of the worst governments formed ever – everything we have achieved has been on the back of 55 per cent of our funding being removed.”
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service