Earlier this month Somerset County Council announced its intention to start a conversation with all the district councils, as well as other partners, to explore whether a unitary model of local government would best deliver public services in Somerset.
The last time a unitary authority was considered was in 2007. Since then all district councils have made considerable changes and as such it could be argued that the substantial savings which existed then no longer exist now.
As we are aware, South Somerset District Council has already recognised a need for change due to financial pressures and has been undergoing a 'transformation' process which it believes will help enable it to retain economic stability. Although SSDC remains committed to implementing further changes to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of services they, and the other districts, are not convinced the current projected savings from establishing a unitary council suggested by Somerset County Council are realistic and are questioning the analysis undertaken.
However, the growth in demand for Adult Social Care is not only a national challenge but very much a Somerset one with the all Somerset districts having a higher proportion of their populace aged 65 or over than the national average. This is very much adding to the financial pressures all across the county. As such, options will continue to be explored which include unitary councils but also other considerations will be objectively assessed as well.
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published its final recommendations for new electoral arrangements for South Somerset District Council.
As expected Curry Rivel will now move to become part of the Langport and Huish Ward, losing Drayton to Burrow Hill. South Somerset will remain a 60 councillor district but will have four fewer wards than there are now. Subject to parliamentary approval the new arrangements will be implemented in the May 2019 local elections. For more information go to: www.lgbce.org.uk.
South Somerset Careline have over 2,000 alarms installed in homes around the district supporting the elderly or vulnerable or anyone who needs it. Their control centre responded to a total of 45,601 calls in 2017/2018. 98% of these calls were answered within one minute. It is no wonder the service has a 97% 'very satisfied' rating from their customers. Careline also offers free home fire safety visits, a keysafe service and telecare equipment, including bed sensors, epilepsy sensors and medication dispensers. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from Careline contact them on 01935 479815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.