Is there a future for county councils in England?
Do county councils like Hampshire and Dorset have a future?
The University of Winchester welcomes one of England’s most respected county council politicians to explore the future of county level local government at an event hosted by the University’s Centre for English Identity and Politics next month.
Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, presents The Future of the English County Council on Thursday 9 March, at the Centre’s latest event on the theme of the governance of England.
Devolution deals, which bring more powers over local services to county and city regions, are a key part of the government’s policy agenda for local government.
However, to date, many English shire counties – including Hampshire – have either failed to agree a deal or say that too little is currently on offer. Alongside devolution, more radical changes to shire counties are also the subject of debate, including abolishing district councils and forming smaller, single-tier councils.
“As English shire councils around the country grapple with the prospect of devolution and radical local government reorganisation, a key question is whether they have a future ahead of them or are facing extinction,” said John Denham, Professor of English Identity and Politics at the University and the former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2009-10).
“With 20 years of experience as an elected politician for Kent County Council and Chair of the County Councils Network, Paul Carter is ideally placed to explore what might lie ahead for county level local government.”
Paul Carter was appointed Leader of Kent County Council in 2005 and has overseen massive change and transformation in the delivery of front line services to Kent residents, having successfully delivered some £400m of efficiency savings to the government’s austerity programme. He is currently working on health and social care transformation and hoping to see the development of dramatically expanding primary and community health and social services that support patients 24/7 and help reduce avoidable admittance into hospital.
The event is the latest in a series hosted by the University’s Centre for English Identity and Politics focusing on the theme of the governance of England. The Centre, which is headed by Professor Denham and is part of the University’s Department of Politics and Society, explores the relationship between a growing sense of English identity and the development of local and national politics in England.
The Future of the English County Council takes place on Thursday 9 March from 6.30pm to 8pm in The Stripe, King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR.
The event is free to attend but registration is essential. Register online at: www.winchester.ac.uk/carter