Orders have been signed into law which will abolish the districts of West Somerset and Taunton Deane and create one new district-level council which will be known as Somerset West and Taunton Council. The new council will be created on 1 April 2019, ahead of elections to the new council on 2 May 2019.
Somerset West and Taunton Change Order
West Somerset and Taunton Deane district councils will remain as separate, sovereign bodies until 31 March 2019. Meanwhile a Shadow Authority has been created. The Shadow Authority consists of all 84 Members of both existing councils – and will be an entity in its own right until the new council is functioning.
The Shadow Authority for Somerset West and Taunton is responsible for creating and maintaining an Implementation Plan, ensuring that all necessary measures are in place to allow for the functions and powers to transfer to the new council, in particular:
Adopting policy and strategy
Setting budget and precept to operate from 1 April 2019
Producing a constitution and governance model
Appointing statutory officers and making provisions for the transfer of staff, assets and liabilities to the new Council
Commissioning an Independent Remuneration Panel to produce a scheme of members’ allowances
The first meeting of the Somerset West and Taunton Council’s Shadow Authority, on 8th June 2018, saw the following appointments being made.
Councillor Jean Parbrook (Minehead South) has been elected Chair, while Councillor Catherine Herbert (Killams & Mountfield) is Vice Chair. She is also the current Mayor of Taunton Deane.
The shadow Executive members are: Councillors John Williams, Roger Habgood, Jane Warmington and Andrew Sully (Taunton Deane) and Councillors Anthony Trollope-Bellew, Steven Pugsley, Andrew Hadley and Martin Dewdney (West Somerset).
Councillor Williams was elected as Leader of the Shadow Council with Councillor Trollope-Bellew as Deputy Leader.
The meeting also established a Central Implementation Team of officers to oversee the implementation of the new council, made up of the Head of Paid Service. The Section 151 Officer and The Monitoring Officer.
The meetings of the Shadow Authority are advertised on this website and are open to members of the public.
It should be noted that the parliamentary process to create the new council continues as there will be orders laid in parliament during Summer/Autumn 2018 to enable:
The Local Government (Boundary Changes) regulations 2018
The Somerset West and Taunton (Electoral Changes) Order 2018 (confirms the number of councillors for SWT and the electoral wards that will apply from the May 2019 elections).
Transfer of functions
Transfer of properties, rights and liabilities
Continuity for references in enactments
Continuity in relation to plans, schemes, statements and strategies
Accounts of predecessor councils and other financial matters