East Kent councils

East Kent councils - examination of a potential merger

The five east Kent councils of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet are looking into the possibility of merging into a single district council.

Councillors from all five authorities agreed in July 2016 to explore the advantages and disadvantages of a merger and examine how a merged council could operate.

Read the full report on exploring the merger (Agenda Item 11)

This work is taking place through a ‘business case’ which the councils have commissioned the Local Government Association and Local Partnerships to prepare.

The purpose of a potential merger was set out in a ‘statement of intent’ agreed by all the councils. We are looking at whether a potential merger would:

  • Deliver opportunity and prosperity for all in east Kent
  • Achieve better social outcomes and reduce inequality
  • Improve value for money and consistency of core services
  • Empower communities and create a platform for further innovation

Once the ‘business case’ is complete, it will be reported back to the councils for discussion before any formal commitment is made by each council to progress the idea further.

Even if a merger is not to go ahead, the context of local government is changing, which will mean our councils will be looking at new ways of working to deliver public services in the future.

The creation of a new unitary council for east Kent is not under consideration.

Leaders are keen to establish that decisions about east Kent are taken at the right level to maximise engagement and empowerment of local communities.

Further information

On Thursday 6 October a public information event was held at the Guildhall in Canterbury about the issue. You can watch a video.

You can also read our Frequently Asked Questions about the potential merger.

At this early stage (as a business case has not yet been completed) if you would like to provide some initial comments on a potential merger, you can do so by using our online form. You will be asked to identify the district in which you live and to provide comments of no more than 2,500 characters.

Please note, whilst key themes and issues from the comments will be identified and fed back to the councils, individual responses will not be provided.