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by Liam Kirkaldy
20 September 2018
Scottish Borders Council considers creating a single public authority for Scottish Borders

Image credit: Matt Newman

Scottish Borders Council considers creating a single public authority for Scottish Borders

Scottish Borders Council is considering proposals to create a single public authority for the Scottish Borders, the local authority has revealed.

Under the proposals, which will be discussed next week, a new single authority would initially encompass the Council and NHS Borders.

The plans suggest a single organisation is the “next logical step” following Scottish Government attempts to eliminate boundaries and obstacles between public sector organisations.

If approved by the council, the proposals will then be submitted to the Scottish Government and COSLA as part of the joint Local Governance Review, which aims to consider how powers, responsibilities and resources are shared across national and local government and with communities.

The proposals would see the new public authority take charge of 9,000 staff and more than £400m in public funding.

It says: “With the aim of driving a step change in outcomes for the citizens and communities of the Scottish Borders, the proposal advances a vision for a single service delivery vehicle, encompassing the Council and NHS Borders in the first instance.

“The proposal also examines intermediate practical steps which may be taken to progress this model, and considers how citizens and communities can have ‘more say about how public services in their area are run.’”

The proposals suggest a single organisation would provide a common approach to service delivery for the public, instilling focus and reducing competition between agencies and financial and service efficiencies.

Seen as a long term project, the single public authority proposal would be a starting point for discussions with local partners, the Scottish Government, COSLA and members of the public.

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