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'Continuing authorities' should adopt a 'fresh look' at organisation and staffing matters in planning for unitary s...
'Continuing authorities' should adopt a 'fresh look' at organisation and staffing matters in planning for unitary status, according to new guidance issued yesterday, said Environment Minister Tony Baldry.

The guidance focuses on the staffing implications for 'continuing authorities' -those district and county councils which become unitary authorities, taking on new functions without significant boundary changes. It has been issued to the Local Government Staff Commission - the Government's independent advisory body dealing with the staffing consequences of the structure review of local government in Shire England.

The guidance also emphasises that there should be as level a playing field as possible for staff from outgoing councils, compared with those from 'continuing councils'. In a written reply to a Parliamentary Question from James Clappison MP (Hertsmere), Mr Baldry said: 'I am placing in the library a copy of the further guidance which we are issuing to the Local Government Staff Commission (England).

'The guidance, which has been drawn up in consultation with the local authority associations and the Staff Commission itself, is designed to clarify the original Policy Guidance in cases where district or county councils continue as unitary authorities. 'A continuing authority with new functions will need to take a completely fresh look at its existing organisational structures and staffing in planning for unitary status.

'Within the constraints of employment legislation, the additional guidance provides as level a playing field as can be achieved for staff of outgoing authorities compared with those of the continuing authorities. It gives a framework within which the Commission can provide continuing authorities with some practical examples of ways to help maximise their freedom to choose a new Head of Paid Service and other senior managers, and to review the organisational structures and staffing of existing support services.

'We expect that the Staff Commission to look carefully at all the implications of the additional guidance.'

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