Reform Suffolk – a great deal for local government.

Orwell Ahead is calling for urgent reform of local government in Suffolk. We propose a single shared Suffolk Service Centre; reporting to three equal sized unitary districts: East Suffolk, West Suffolk and Orwell (covering Greater Ipswich & Felixstowe). This will save money, provide balanced and fair platform for Devolution, and ensure local government is local (decisions made for you by people who live here). Unitary decision making for local people, but backed up by economies of scale through a shared service centre. Let’s get people talking about greater local government for ALL in Suffolk !

This is a totally new proposal and idea which uniquely offers a “win-win-win” for county, districts and voters.

With the Local Government Association has issued a fresh plea for extra funds amid warnings that town halls face a £5.8bn black hole by 2020, Orwell Ahead is proposing a shared vision for better, leaner, balanced and accountable local government for ALL in Suffolk. In fact our idea could be a blue print for similar situated counties and districts across the United Kingdom.

We believe that taxpayers and voters will want to see and consider sensible counter proposals for local government, ahead of the county elections and certainly before SCDC and Waveney proceed.


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8 Responses to Reform Suffolk – a great deal for local government.

  1. Paul says:

    What would be the purpose of endeavour house if this proposal went ahead?

    • Mark Ling says:

      Hi Paul, the model is based on the organisational structure used in some of the world’s top companies. See (Reform Suffolk tab) for full details. However, in simple terms the rump of the current county council organisation would deliver ALL services for all Suffolk. District functions would also be delivered by this shared service centre. The shared service centre would operate under a Chief Operting Office for all Suffolk. County and district officer would merge under one entity. This would mean one IT system, one financial platform, one set of operational procedures. The structure allows for long term savings. This Shared Service Centre would report to three equally sized unitary districts, based on natural alignment and historic ties (east Suffolk, west Suffolk, and Orwell (Ipswich to Felixstowe) providing three powerful electorate focused authorities. Each would be democratically elected, with leader, 75 unitary councillors, and with a powerful CEO and line officers ensuring that manifesto pledges, direction, ambition, and accountability are foremost. It forms a balanced framework for further devolution, strength for LEP, CCG, PCC and possibly an elected Mayor. It means that everyone in Suffolk received strong, focused and accountable local government, whilst delivering long term efficiency and cost management.

  2. Paul says:

    Even if this is sold as an excellent idea I doubt the Ipswich Labour group would approve of it. Don’t forget a greater ipswich would incorporate areas where people actually own their own homes (just like Labour Cllr’s do).

    • Mark Ling says:

      Paul, I think the Labour Group is realistic. I am a lifelong Conservative, but the Ipswich Tories face wipe out at the county election, and specifically because they have been abandoned like their town. Ipswich entered Suffolk county council at a county-borough, plus biggest stakeholder in east Suffolk Authority in 1974, today Suffolk conservatives control the county but dont have a single person living anywhere from Ipswich to Felixstowe representing the area. It is a disgrace. They have abandoned Ipswich, and they deserve to be wiped out. However, if they were smart about it and adopted Orwell Ahead’s manifesto then they stand a chance. ironically Ipswich Labour accept the unitary argument. There is a compromise to be had, yet Suffolk Conservatives, not Labour Ipswich are the ones unwilling to do the right thing for voters

      • Paul says:

        I’m afraid I’ve no idea where you get your information from. I think you would need to get a lot more involved in local politics then you would have a better understanding as to what the real problems are.

        Good luck in selling your vision though.

  3. Mark Ling says:

    Well Paul, I have been directly involved for 12 years, and taking an interest for 40. I know both sides and speak with both. I’ve also run large organisations, handled mergers and change management. This can be done, and should be done. If you think two tier, one county, one borough, four districts and a super-district is the answer, good luck. Its only in local government that they are allowed to get away with it. However, with £58bn black hole in LGA budgetsm and a £1.8 trillion national debt, I’d encourage you to back the only sensible reform on the table

  4. Paul says:

    Having given it some thought if you do get a handful of councillors then that would be the balance of power, and in turn gives your lobby group leverage to move your campaign up the political ladder. You will just find a certain political bottleneck locally and although you don’t see that now in time I’m sure you would do I’m afraid.

  5. Mark Ling says:

    Paul, you may well be right, but we’re not proposing and standing for this because it is the easy way, but because it is the right way.

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