Stronger Somerset's virtual sessions to build new model for Adult and Childrens' Services in the county
With the Government pressing ahead with its call for major change in the way public services are provided in Somerset, experts from across the region are coming together to help create a new way of delivering excellent, affordable and sustainable care for everyone.
The outcomes from this major engagement initiative will be included in the detailed Stronger Somerset proposals that will go to government in December.
The first sessions, which will include representatives from the NHS including GPs, charitable sector partners and groups representing service users and carers, are taking place online and will look at how care services can be transformed in Somerset to ensure children and adults have a better future and that they can be properly funded.
Future virtual sessions will cover how we can build a stronger economy in Somerset to create more jobs and opportunities for young people, how local communities can have a greater say in the issues that are important to them, and more.
And you can have your say by reading our exciting initial proposals for change at www.strongersomerset.co.uk and sending us your comments.
Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council, said: "We now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the way that local government is delivered in Somerset. It's a solution that takes the lead from and works with communities, towns and parishes to support its most vulnerable people. We need to take better care of everyone's health and wellbeing, preventing poor physical and mental health and isolation in a way that is joined up with partners such as the NHS trusts, voluntary and community sectors, housing providers, GPs and police.
"The Stronger Somerset proposal, led by all four District Councils, offers a fresh start for our county. It is the chance to build a new way of delivering services to people and communities. The government will decide in the next few months how our local government will be reformed. We are asking for your input to help create an ambitious and sustainable offer for the future of Somerset.
"We realise some of you may be asking 'why now?', particularly as we enter another period of restrictions for public safety due to Covid-19. Please be reassured that your district councils will continue to focus on supporting our communities through this pandemic crisis, and helping to lead the recovery. But we will also do all we can to make sure our credible, innovative and positive plan for change is on the table because change is needed.
"The County Council's bid for a single Unitary for the whole of Somerset offers few solutions for the future and little for the challenge of care in our county which we had expected to see given the recent Ofsted inspection of its SEND services which identified worrying and significant failings. We are showing leadership by working in partnership to create a solution that will deliver."
Central Government has confirmed it will make a decision next year on the future of local government in Somerset.
You can have your say and find out more on our website strongersomerset.co.uk
You can also keep up to date on Twitter and Facebook @strongsomerset.
This statement is issued by Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, and South Somerset District Council.