Most unitary councils were created in the 1990’s, and then a second tranche were created in 2009. Today, some councils still hanker after a conversion to Unitary Status. But the question remains - “Do Unitary Councils save money?”.
One measure of this, is an assessment of how much they spend with the private sector. So we added up all the Trade Invoices for Cumbria County Council and its Districts, and also Gloucestershire County Councils and its Districts. Then we divided the total spend figure for Cumbria and Gloucestershire by the Population served by each administration. This gives us “£ spent with external suppliers per head of population”. Then we compared this with equivalent figures for two similar unitary councils - namely Shropshire and Wiltshire. The results show that the two Unitary Councils spend significantly less than their County/District peers.
This of course is just one measure. It doesn’t tell us about their expenditure on salaries - but logically one would assume the salary cost of a Unitary would be less than equivalent County/District administrations, due to the significant management savings.
If you would like to see a free report that summarises our findings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org