The Independent Care Group has thrown its weight behind plans to create a unitary authority for North Yorkshire.
The group has backed a move by the current North Yorkshire County Council to scrap the existing two-tier system with both districts and a county council and replace them with a single authority instead.
Some councils in England are currently preparing bids to reorganise their local government systems, although some are likely to meet with stiff resistance from district councils.
In August, the County Councils network published a report, which claimed scrapping districts and counties completely in England and replacing them with unitaries could deliver £3bn in savings over five years.
However, the District Councils Network retaliated with a report of their own, which warned that bigger local authorities are not necessarily ‘better or cheaper’.
Group chair Mike Padgham said North Yorkshire’s bid for a unitary ‘provides the best option’ for ‘facing and overcoming’ many of the key challenges in delivering social care in years to come.
‘Effective county-wide services already exist in the delivery of social care and many years have been spent establishing a successful and close working relationship between the local authority and independent providers of social care,’ said Mr Padgham.
‘It would seem pointless and unnecessary to dismantle this.
‘In recent months North Yorkshire County Council has worked in partnership with local providers to provide an effective response to coronavirus,’ added Mr Padgham.
‘We need that relationship to continue to keep providing that response. We cannot know how long the threat of COVID-19 will remain.
‘We must look at ways to build upon the existing partnerships to prepare the county for the future. It is a future which will feature a rapidly-ageing population, which will have an increasing demand for ever more complex care. This will require a strong, coherent authority to manage in partnership with care providers.’
Earlier this week, Social Care Today reported that North Yorkshire has written to local care providers today to advise that routine visiting to care homes should cease from October 1 for a month, a move which the Independent Care Group has supported.
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