Councils to scrap for extra powers

Councils across England are gearing up for intensive lobbying campaigns as the Government prepares to hand extra powers to a small number of local authorities

Some councils have enlis­ted agency support to help them present their bids to decision makers in West­minster and Whitehall.

Others are waiting to see if they make the shortlist before they bring in extra help. The shortlist is expected in March with a final decision in July.

PRWeek has learned that Exeter City Council and Preston City Council have both appointed Connect Public Affairs, while Oxford City Council has appointed LLM Communications.

Other frontrunners for unitary status are: Norwich City Council; Ipswich Borough Council; and the county councils of Cornwall, Shropshire, Durham, Cumbria and Northumbria.

The deadline for initial bids for unitary status was this week. It is expected that five authorities will be allowed to become unitary, giving them greater freedom over finances and policy.

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