Smooth transfer to unitary status needed

COUNTY chiefs will discuss how best to hand over power to Ipswich's new unitary authority at a meeting being held next month. As part of a government initiative offering authorities the chance of unitary status, Ipswich was one of nine authorities granted the opportunity to shape its own destiny last month.

COUNTY chiefs will discuss how best to hand over power to Ipswich's new unitary authority at a meeting being held next month.

As part of a government initiative offering authorities the chance of unitary status, Ipswich was one of nine authorities granted the opportunity to shape its own destiny last month.

The decision means almost all local government functions will be handled by the borough council by 2009 - they are currently split between the borough council and county council.

Suffolk County Council says it is keen to ensure the transfer of services to Ipswich Borough Council runs smoothly with people in the county not losing out as a result.

County chiefs will discuss the next steps in the process at a cabinet meeting scheduled for September 4.

These will include:

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Agreeing a protocol with Ipswich Borough Council to underpin the implementation of a unitary Ipswich council

Setting up a cross-party joint implementation committee, made up of councillors from both councils

Establishing a programme board for Suffolk County Council to oversee the transfer of resources and staff, and to work together with Ipswich Borough Council on the design of services, including opportunities for shared services.

Cllr Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “We must make sure that we make these changes work to benefit everyone in Suffolk.

“We know that people expect high quality services, and so it's important that we don't stop essential good work from continuing, and keep any disruptions down to a minimum.

“We are also determined to leave a positive legacy for the people of Ipswich, while making sure that communities across the rest of the county are not disadvantaged.

“What really matters is the people who rely on us for services and the people who deliver them.”

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