Another Fine Mess (from Taunton Deane)

 “This is a council that has to provide services. Did you not realise that? You have to keep the council’s services running even during this transition period. I cannot understand the mess we’ve got into. I am disillusioned.”

So saying, Rosemary Woods, Watchet’s representative on West Somerset District Council, summed up the latest lunacy about the merger of Taunton Deane and West Somerset councils. The bill for “transformation” (a silly word that really means getting rid of staff and putting in untested computers) is rising yet again, and the organisation does not take over until April 2019. These are the sums: The new council has asked for an additional £2.37m for its “transformation” programme. £507,000 will come from West Somerset’s general reserves, with the remaining £1.88m  from Taunton Deane’s general reserves and housing revenue account. In addition, officers requested a further £685,000 for additional running costs during the transition period – £121,000 to be provided by West Somerset and £564,000 by Taunton Deane – bringing the total amount to £3.072m. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.