Future relationship with Warwick District Council and future working arrangements

Press Release

Published on 11 May 2022
Archived on 11 June 2022

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has today, Wednesday 11 May, agreed to formally withdraw the request to merger with Warwick District Council and create a South Warwickshire Council.

Members agreed the following Recommendations:

  • That the formal submission to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to create a South Warwickshire District Council, be withdrawn;
  • That work on the full-service integration of teams across Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick District Councils be terminated;
  • That work on the identification of sharing civic and office accommodation between Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick District Council is terminated;
  • That a review of The Constitution be undertaken to remove the following Committees and Group from The Constitution:
    • The Joint Appointments Committee
    • The Joint Appointments Sub-Committee
    • Joint Arrangements Steering Group

and to transfer the Terms of Reference from both Committees back to the Employment Committee;

  • That the arrangements for the Joint Management Team be terminated from 12 May 2022, and that the Interim Management Team structure be noted;
  • That changes to the Officer Scheme of Delegations, as a consequence of the transfer of service functions between Chief Officers, be approved by Council as shown in Appendix 4 to the agenda, as amended:
  • This Council wish to express its thanks to the Senior Management Team and all those staff involved, who have worked very hard in trying to achieve this merger.

In addition, it was noted that

  • The work on the Joint South Warwickshire Local Plan and Joint South Warwickshire Economic Strategy will continue; and
  • The existing arrangements in relation to Climate Change will continue.

Cllr Tony Jefferson, Leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council said: "Although disappointing, we found an awful lot of new information and re-evaluated the position, and we decided the risks to our residents were too great.  There is a significant difference between the approaches and ambitions of the two councils that have proved to be irreconcilable, which we have only found out after we started to work with Warwick.

"When the merger was first contemplated, our financial situation was very unclear following COVID, the potential of losing the New Homes Bonus and the uncertainty over business rates. Thankfully things have turned out better than expected both in terms of government grants and interim financial settlements, plus the economic recovery has also been stronger than predicted.

"Despite that, savings have been realised as part of this process. Early analysis shows that we have spent around £162K and estimated £271K worth of savings has been achieved, which equates to a net benefit of £110k of this joint working. This does not include the one-off savings relating to the Local Plan, that will be achieved as well.  This means, that at this stage there is no need for an emergency budget.  Our future budget plans and targets will depend on the Government settlement that we receive later in the year.

"Despite the decision today, it should not mean the end for the positives that this process has generated; we have learned a lot and wish to carry on as good partners and some of the joint working arrangements already put in place will continue as it makes sense to continue this work."

The Leader, on behalf of the District Council, will now formally write to the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to officially withdraw the formal submission to create a South Warwickshire District Council.

The joint working that will continue includes:

  • Business Rates Administration
  • Information Governance
  • Joint HS2 Liaison Officer
  • Legal Services
  • Development of the South Warwickshire Local Plan (SWLP)
  • Development of the South Warwickshire Economic Development Strategy
  • Joint Waste & Recycling Contract
  • Climate Change

Both authorities will revert to individual Management Teams from 12 May 2022.  The interim the Management Team at Stratford District Council will revert to the structure of 1 Chief Executive, 1 Deputy Chief Executive and 5 Heads of Service which was in place prior to the establishment of the Joint Management Team in August 2022.

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

Back to Archived Press Releases

Contact: The Communications team

Last updated on 11/05/2022