A selection of images representing communities.
Plans for local government restructuring were announced in the Local Government White Paper of October 2006. The White Paper recognised that there can be additional difficulties and challenges in 'two-tier' areas - ie where there is both a county and a district council - to providing strong, clear, local leadership, and effective, accountable public services. Also, two-tier structures can often be confusing to the public, as it may not always be clear which is responsible for a particular service.
In October 2006, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government issued an Invitation to all local councils in two-tier areas to put forward proposals for unitary local government in their area.
Each of the successful proposals had to demonstrate that, if implemented, the new council(s) would deliver strong, effective and accountable strategic leadership, provide greater opportunities for neighbourhood engagement, and provide better value for money and more equitable public services. They also had to demonstrate how the change to unitary structures would be affordable and supported by a broad cross section of partners and stakeholders.
Seven successful proposals have been implemented, resulting in nine new unitary authorities which came into force on 1 April 2009.