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Contact: Janette Collier, Senior Democratic Services Officer Tel. no: 01205 314227 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive apologies for absence and notification of substitutes (if any).
There were apologies for absence from Councillors Tom Ashton, Alan Bell and Frank Pickett. Councillors Tracey Abbott, Paul Goodale and Judith Skinner, respectively, were substituting for those Members.
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
To receive declarations of interests in respect of any item on the agenda.
It was declared that Councillors Richard Austin, Peter Bedford, Anne Dorrian, Paul Goodale and Paul Skinner served on the Chief Officer Employment Panel and had attended the panel’s meeting on 20th May and had considered a report on the proposed Strategic Alliance in terms of the sharing of Statutory Officers and had made a recommendation to Full Council, which would be considered on 10th June 2020.
The three Statutory Officers, Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer, declared an interest in the report, Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council Strategic Alliance, as it affected their employment, and all confirmed that they had not provided any professional advice to the Council in respect of the matters contained within the report. Having declared their interest in advance, the Officers were not in attendance at the meeting.
To answer any written questions received from members of the public no later than 5 p.m. two clear working days prior to the meeting – for this meeting the deadline is 5 p.m. on Monday 1st June 2020.
There were no questions from members of the public.
(A report by the Leader, Councillor Paul Skinner, who will present the report)
Councillor Paul Skinner presented a report, which set out a proposal for the creation of a strategic alliance between Boston Borough Council and East Lindsey District Council, including the sharing of statutory officers of Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer.
Each Council would retain its distinct and special identity, decision making powers and accountability. The talent and experience of each authority’s officers would be combined to build capacity and deploy resources necessary to transform service quality across the board.
The goal was to deliver better outcomes for local people at a significantly lower cost than that which could be achieved if the authorities were to continue to operate separately. Joint working on the planning and delivery of services would also mitigate pressure on the Council’s budgets and command greater influence in the allocation of resources from Central Government, the Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership and others.
Joint working would also give the councils a stronger voice in any process to reshape local government in Lincolnshire, promoting a common agenda with a single voice. They would gain experience of managing strategic change quickly and effectively and there could also be a longer term possibility for the strategic alliance to grow in numbers, giving rise to promote a significant part of Lincolnshire, should the future bring consideration of alternative structures.
There was no settled blueprint for change. The final shape of joint working and the pace of service transformation would be subject to agreement by both councils. Members were invited to agree that the transformation should begin now, with the establishment of a Joint Statutory Officer team to advise and assist both authorities on how to ‘kick start’ change and merge workforces.
Both Council shared characteristics. A relatively small officer corps with limited revenue and capital resources to tackle the multitude of challenges each faced; historic towns with extensive rural surroundings; relatively narrow economic base; Towns’ Fund investment, tourism and rich built heritage; investment in transport and other key infrastructure which was a significant risk to the achievement of each council’s ambitions, finance and resources.
The financial pressures facing local government were outlined, the significant cuts in Central Government Grants which were unlikely to be reversed in the foreseeable future and limited opportunities to offset pressures, combined with increased demands for key services. The financial pressure facing both councils was likely to become more acute in the short term due to the loss of revenue and additional unplanned expenditure caused by the need to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the consequences of the financial structure imposed on councils was the pressure Government was placing on local authorities to scale up by adopting countywide unitary and mayoral structures. Past experience in Lincolnshire suggested this would be difficult to achieve, and a better approach would be to build alliances from the ‘bottom up’. This would allow resources to be shared quickly and effectively, reducing pressure on budgets, and giving those partners a stronger voice in the allocation of scarce resources from central government ... view the full minutes text for item 39.