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The new unitary council for Buckinghamshire

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The new unitary council for Buckinghamshire

As you will be aware, on 1 November, the Secretary of State approved a brand new, single council for Buckinghamshire, to be established by April 2020.

This will be a new council for all local government services and will replace the current five councils – Buckinghamshire County Council and Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, Wycombe and South Bucks District Councils.

This is an exciting opportunity to improve services for our residents, creating a simpler council for residents, make better use of public money, and be more local to communities.

The new council will be better placed to plan for school places, taking a county wide strategic approach alongside housing growth and the infrastructure needs of schools and the local communities around them as one organisation.

There’s no doubt that there is a long journey ahead of us as we bring together the five councils and develop plans to move towards one council.

However, there will be no immediate changes and we will work to ensure there is minimal disruption to children’s services, including our work with schools and the education community, during this time.

We have been working with the district councils and government ministers to plan how the transition to the new council will take place.

Government will set out how this change will take place in a few weeks in what they call a Structural Changes Order that they will pass through Parliament. This will include:

  • The name of the new council - Buckinghamshire Council
  • The new council will go live on 1 April 2020
  • There will be 147 councillors of the new Buckinghamshire Council. They will be elected to the new council in May 2020.
  • It will also include information on how the transition will be carried out through a Shadow Authority made up of all the current county and district councillors.
  • The order also references the importance of the children’s services improvement journey, that the Shadow Authority must have regard for the Children’s Commissioner report and children’s services must not be adversely affected by the change programme.  

The new unitary council will be a new legal entity.  This means that all council staff, including staff in schools where the county council is the employer, will be TUPE transferred to the new Buckinghamshire Council on existing terms and conditions. This is a purely legal process as we transfer to a new council. We don’t expect there to be any significant impact on school staff and are working to make sure this process is as easy as possible. We will talk to you about this in more detail over the coming months, however if you have any questions in the meantime please get in touch.

You may have seen in the media that Chiltern and Wycombe District Councils have written to government in a ‘preliminary step to legal proceedings' in relation to the unitary process. We are clear that we are continuing to work to an implementation timescale of April 2020 and want to reassure you we remain committed to working with colleagues across all the district councils to create the brand new council for Buckinghamshire. With less than 15 months until the new council goes live, it is vital that we continue to work together in the best interests of our local residents and businesses, to deliver the transition work needed. 

Please share this information with your staff.

We will be updating this page with information and FAQs for schools.

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