The government has confirmed that devolution is coming to York and North Yorkshire. This will see the biggest change to local government in the county since 1973, as the seven district councils are merged with the county council to become one new council.
This will have a significant impact on our members. 60% of our branch members work in local government at North Yorkshire County Council, Selby District Council, Hambleton District Council and Richmondshire District Council.
What are UNISON’s priorities for members?
All UNISON local government branches came together to agree our test for deciding which option is best for our members. We agreed that our priorities on your behalf were to:
- Protect jobs and avoid compulsory redundancies
- Level-up terms, conditions and pay
- Minimise disruption to staff and services
What will happen, and when?
Under the ‘one council’ option, staff at the existing district councils will transfer to the new council on their existing terms and conditions. Nothing will change for staff until April 2023 when they will transfer to the new council.
The new council will officially come into being in April 2022 as a ‘shadow authority’, but staff will not be affected at this point. This allows elections to take place for councillors to the new council in May 2022, and for the new councillors to appoint a Chief Executive.
In April 2023, the existing councils will cease to exist and staff will start working for the new council. Initially staff will transfer in their current roles, on their existing pay, terms and conditions.
There will, of course, be a period of transition and harmonisation. This will happen gradually over time and UNISON is already having discussions with our councils to make sure our voice on your behalf is heard.
What happens next?
Parliament will need to approve the official Order to abolish the existing councils and create the new council. This is likely to happen in December/January.
We have already started to talk with our councils across North Yorkshire to make sure that we are at the table fighting for our members. We know that members will be anxious – change is always worrying, and we will keep our members informed and updated throughout the coming weeks and months.
Keeping our members informed
The joint UNISON local government branches across North Yorkshire are working together and we have agreed to produce a joint newsletter, which will be sent out whenever we have something to update you with. Please contact us if you have not received a copy, as we might need to update your contact details.