After a leak last week giving away the government's position on the proposals for unitary councils in Norfolk, the government today officially announced that Norwich City Council is to be turned in to a unitary authority, with no change for the rest of Norfolk. Whilst this is in many ways a good thing, particularly as we retain our local councils and will not be swallowed up by some "super council" as was first proposed, there are some consequenes for all of us, even those living outside of Norwich.
In giving Norwich Unitary status, and its schools becoming separate from Norfolk Schools, there will now need to be some duplication of resources, and many of the economies of scale which Norfolk Education Authority has will be gone as 20% of the schools budget was spent in Norwich. Teacher training centres, managers, and a whole host of other expenses will now be split amongst the remaining 80% of the county. inevitably this will put up costs for all of us.
Then there are the issues to do with children in Broadland going to Norwich schools. Many children in Broadland go to schools in Norwich like The Open Academy, Sewell Park College, Hewett, and others, and these schools will now be in a different education authority. This will cause all sorts of problems too in social services, bit this is all stuff the government know and chose to ignore.
The ironic thing is about the whole process is that the re-organisation of local government was supposed to cut costs, not increase them. According to the government's own rules, Norwich going unitary could not pass the threshold for making savings and it therefore should have been turned down. So the Labour government have managed to botch one of their final ever decisions. No change there then , they've botched up a lot since 1997 !