Tipperary County Council was established in June 2014 as a result of the merger of the former North and South Tipperary County Councils. The merger happened within the context of an extensive programme of public service cost reduction and also the Putting People First local government reforms. Combined with the latter, the merger represents a major reform of local government arrangements in Tipperary.
This report recognises that it is too early to reach definitive conclusions with respect to the longer-term impact of the merger. Within this context the objectives of the report are threefold:
1. To document the merger process
2. To review outcomes to date
3. To inform Tipperary County Council with regard to issues that require attention to ensure long term consolidation within the new authority.
It is further anticipated that in meeting these objectives the report will provide learning to other public service organisations engaged in reorganisation.
The Tipperary County Council merger has involved an extended and highly intensive work effort by all involved. Senior management on many occasions during the course of the research for this case-study acknowledged the support and work-effort of staff in delivering the merger on time and ensuring service delivery was maintained.
It is inevitable given the scale of the process and the number of people involved that there are challenges, unforeseen issues and for staff concerns in areas including communications, workforce planning and career prospects. One of the main motivations behind this research was to consult with staff, explore with them issues of concern and report back to management in respect of these issues.
Notwithstanding the considerable work to date, in many respects the merger has only just begun. Ongoing consolidation and an ultimately successful outcome whereby Tipperary County Council becomes more than the sum of its parts, is dependent on improved service delivery and the realisation of benefits from the merger - for staff, the council and the county.