With less than 90 days to go, preparations are well underway to create the new Buckinghamshire Council that will launch in April this year.
The new council will deliver the whole range of local services currently delivered by the five current councils as a single organisation.
For most people there will be no change to the day-to-day services they use, like bin collections, social care, libraries and parking. Getting in touch with their local council will be more straightforward because from 1 April residents will only need to contact one council for all of these services.
New from April, residents will be able to access information, advice and support on a range of topics near where they live or work through a network of 17 local Council Access Points (CAPs). These will offer a face-to-face contact point at the heart of the local community – usually in a library or a council office in one of the county’s main towns. The current council main offices located in Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Amersham and Denham will become ‘access plus’ points, geared up to handle more complex enquiries.
In addition, 16 Community Boards will be set up across the county to help the new council build strong links with local communities and respond to local needs more effectively.
Buckinghamshire Council councillors will work closely with local people and community organisations to understand the key issues affecting their local area. Each board will be made up of local people, town and parish councils, community groups, police and healthcare organisations who will focus on finding solutions to local issues. These local issues could include improving facilities for young people, tackling social isolation of older people or helping to set up a community bus.
All of the current elected members from the five existing councils will continue serving their communities until the councillors elected to the new Buckinghamshire Council in May take up their posts.
Leader of the Shadow Executive that is paving the way to the new council, Councillor Martin Tett, said: “We are just three months away from the new council and our countdown clock is ticking. We’ve come a long way in the last few months and the five councils are working really hard to create a brand new council – a council which our residents, councillors and staff can all be really proud of. The next few months is all about making sure we are ready for April and residents know how to find out about the new council and where to go if they need us. As one council from April, our focus will then be on how we can improve services for our residents.”
Deputy Leader of the Shadow Executive, Katrina Wood, said: “We’re looking forward to the future. It’s exciting and a privilege to be part of this historic change for the county. The Council Access Points and Community Boards will keep the new council local, making it easier for people to access face-to-face support and get involved in improving services at a really local level.”