Frequently asked questions about devolution

Get answers to common questions about devolution and our proposal for a single, strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire

What is the process for agreeing a deal and any changes?

Each local authority has been asked to submit their bid for what the new arrangements could look like. 

The government will then consider the merits of the bids and decide which option to look at further.

The government would then carry out a consultation so everyone could have their say on the future of North Yorkshire.

There would then need to be agreement between all relevant local authority areas and the government about what a devolution deal would like:

  • what powers and responsibilities would be devolved
  • what geography, and which local authorities, the deal would and wouldn’t cover
  • how these new arrangements would be governed

See our proposal for a single, strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire.  

How will residents get a say on the proposals?

We are listening carefully to the views of residents and partners and feeding them into the development of our proposals.  We review all comments on social media as well as those emailed to us directly via and are taking these into consideration. You can find out more on our have your say page.

At the point at which any proposals go before government for government's consideration, it will be for them to decide which go forward for public consultation. 

Why not keep things as they are?

The government has ordered us to get rid of our two-tier local council system before to gain a devolution deal. We are committed to gaining a devolution deal to generate significant funding for the county and to allow more decisions to be made locally by, and for, the people who live and work here. 

Creating a single council also brings many other benefits, you can find more details in our proposal for a single, strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire.

Would one council be too big? Why not have more than one? 

The government has confirmed that new single councils are expected to serve substantially in excess of 300,000 to 400,000 residents and that North Yorkshire's population of 610,000 would be within this scope, allowing us to then look at gaining a devolution deal. 

Less savings would be made with more than one council as there would still be duplication across the two, or more, unitary authorities. It would also mean breaking up the existing countywide services such as our children’s services, which are graded as outstanding in all categories by Ofsted, our adult services which are highly regarded nationally and our highways service which is among the best performing in the country.

Would this mean less representation for my local area?


While there would no longer be district councillors, many county councillors already represent both councils. Our proposal for a single, strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire also includes plans for 'double devolution' where, as well as powers being devolved from central government to the council, we're also proposing greater powers being passed to parish and town councils, if they would welcome that.

We would also give people a louder voice via community networks mapped around market towns and improve
transparency by introducing area committees to oversee their local areas and champion their cause.

Is this a new idea?


Many areas have moved from separate district and county councils to one unitary authority to gain the same benefits our vision sets out for North Yorkshire, including those around us such as County Durham.

What services are currently delivered by which council and what would change?

The services currently delivered by county and district councils are listed below. As part of a unitary authority these would all be delivered by the same council. In the event of more than one unitary, all of the county council functions would need to be split and duplicated across each area. 

County Council

District Council

County and District Council

Births, deaths and marriage registration

Building regulations

Arts and recreation

Children's services

Burials and cremations

Economic development

Concessionary travel

Coastal protection

Museums and galleries

Consumer protection

Community safety


Education - including special educational needs, adult education and pre-school

Council tax and business rates


Emergency planning

Elections and electoral registration


Highways (excluding trunk roads), street lighting and traffic management

Environmental health





Minerals and waste planning



Passenger transport (buses) and transport planning

Markets and fairs


Public health

Sports centres, parks and playing fields


Social services - including care for the elderly and community care

Street cleaning


Trading standards

Waste and recycling collection


Waste disposal

Public toilets


Would this just cost money to achieve the same services we already have?


We estimate that our proposal would save at least £25 million a year. You can read more about the potential savings in our proposal for a single, strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire

Both Durham County Council and Cornwall Council have a similar population to North Yorkshire and also saved between £20 and £25 million a year from moving to being single councils. 

The government has also ordered us to get rid of our two-tier council system in order to gain a devolution deal that would bring significant investment into North Yorkshire, renewing our economic fortunes after the shock of the pandemic.