The current need to reduce the expenditure of local authorities, together with estimates of some £15 million to refurbish Northgate House, Calderdale’s administrative centre, call into question the reason for Calderdale’s existence at all as an independent local authority.
Created in 1974, Calderdale was never sufficiently large to operate efficiently, nor had it any geographical unity.
The authority was cobbled together from the old Halifax County Borough, with Todmorden which looked towards Lancashire for many services, Elland, Rastrick and Brighouse which looked towards Huddersfield or Bradford, and some infill for cartographical neatness.
Since that time it has lost many of the functions it once had as a local authority. Many and increasing numbers of schools and academies operate outside its control as does further education, while since Local Management of Schools even community schools are run by governing bodies and not the LEA.
It no longer owns or manages council houses. Waste collection is contracted out and it is some time since Halifax ran its own buses. It is difficult to find any important strategic function that Calderdale undertakes that can justify its existence. There appears to be nothing that would not be performed more cost effectively were Calderdale to cease to exist, and these functions be undertaken by neighbouring local authorities with local offices where necess.
At a stroke we would cut out the top layer of expensive administrative posts, and some of the layer below.