A top council official, who retires this week after 16 years in the post, has called for “wholesale shake-up” of the “prehistoric” system.

Chris Williams, who claims the two-tier council system is “not fit for purpose and too expensive”, announced his retirement in December but this week claimed he should have gone nine years ago.

Mr Williams will leave his £214,000 per year post on Thursday and claims - according to information from Buckinghamshire Business First - the move could save the council £20m a year.

“I love Buckinghamshire County Council, but long for the day when I hear it is being scrapped,” said the council chief.

“The two-tier system of local government made sense in 1974 when it was introduced, but more than 40 years on, the two-tier system has become outdated, not fit for purpose and far too expensive to run.

“To my mind, it was a serious error not to press for a unitary council. Why keep paying for five councils when you don’t need to.

“My idea is still to amalgamate the two levels of councils into one main authority, covering the whole of Buckinghamshire - it’s a simple, but effective solution.”

The chief executive did try to implement the changes - which could have cost him his job - nine years ago but was unsuccessful, a move which still concerns him.

“I should have gone in 2007 when other areas abolished their county and district councils,” added Mr Williams.

“At the time, I recommended similar plans for Buckinghamshire but at the eleventh hour, councillors decided not to back the plans, and we missed out.

“I am as convinced now as I was then when I made my recommendations to councillors that there should be a wholesale shake-up of local government in Buckinghamshire.

“Not only do they save millions of pounds and reduce duplication of services, but they also end the understandable confusion among the public about who is responsible for what.

“I personally would have been prepared to lose my job and reapply for another one in the brave new world of an entirely new local authority.”

The new chief, who has not yet been appointed, will be accountable for managing the council budget of around £700 million and its net revenue budget of £320 million.

Mr Williams finished by saying: “I am proud of what I achieved as Chief Executive at the County Council, but not proud of the fact that – despite all the efforts – I am leaving with the prehistoric multi-tiered local government system still intact.

“My final message is that it simply has to change, and it has to change quickly.

“The whole issue of unitary councils and the clear savings they can deliver is back on the agenda once again and I truly hope this time the opportunity is not squandered.”