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In brief

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No more unitaries

Local government minister John Healey has restated the government’s policy that there are no further plans for new unitary councils. However, in a parliamentary answer, he said: “We recognise that in some specific cases in the future there might be areas where circumstances are such as to warrant a focused and targeted invitation to the councils concerned.”

Care guide launch

A new guide, Future-proofing care outside hospital, has been launched, outlining how councils can work with the NHS to build new health centres featuring social care facilities. Community Health Partnerships co-ordinates the£1.5bn Local Investment Finance Trust programme.

Bilsborough case

Hearings have concluded in the case brought by Swale BC against its chief executive Mark Bilsborough, who has been absent on gardening leave for more than 450 days. John Bowers QC, the ‘independent person’ designated under the chief executives’ disciplinary process, is to report in April.

Massie takes role

The Cabinet Office has announced the appointment of Sir Bert Massie in a key role in ensuring the public sector better engages with charities and the voluntary sector. He was appointed commissioner of the compact, ensuring compliance with the compact outlining the government’s responsibilities towards the third sector.

New panel meets

The first meeting has been held of the Independent Commission of Northumberland, the panel which will oversee the creation of a new unitary council in the county. The body is made up of residents and leaders of public, private, voluntary and community
organisations.

Telford Tory gain

The Conservatives increased their grip on Telford & Wrekin BC by gaining a seat following the resignation of an independent candidate. The party is in its strongest ever position on the council, holding 27 of the 54 seats.

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