The Council’s Cabinet (20th January) will deliberate the possibility of working with Thurrock Borough Council to form a ‘Combined Authority (CA)’ or Economic Prosperity Board (EPB).
A Combined Authority is not the merging of Council services, but involves creating a legally structured partnership that can bid for additional delegated powers from central government to drive economic growth and carry out statutory transport duties.
The move could even lead to district councils within South Essex, along with Essex County Council, becoming part of a South Essex CA or EPB.
The Government is currently consulting on the proposed changes, which if approved, would allow non-neighboring local authorities (like Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock) to form combined authorities. Cabinet will also discuss the council’s official response to the consultation, which support the proposed changes.
Cllr Ron Woodley, Leader of the Council, says: “Following the disappointing news that Essex County Council are withdrawing from the Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership (TGSEP), this seems to be the natural next step for a revised Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership.
“We have seen in the North of England how Combined Authorities can act as a real driver for jobs and improved transport links, acting as a stronger voice for more investment and powers to deliver change locally.
“Our ambition would be to deliver transport and economic policy more effectively over a wider area and build on the work already done by the TGSEP."