Local authorities within Surrey, West Sussex and East Sussex have submitted a prospectus for devolution to be considered by the Government.
A report to Wealden District Council’s cabinet which meets on Wednesday, October 21, says the devolution agreement potentially provides the Three Southern Counties (3SC) area with access to a range of funds for services such as infrastructure, housing, skills and public service delivery.
“This will have a significant financial impact on the area as a whole. At this stage it is not possible to determine the direct availability of resources for Wealden as the detail has still to be worked through. However, every effort will be made to ensure that the financial benefits for Wealden are maximised.”
A Government response to the proposals is expected at a spending review on November 25.
The Wealden report says the 3SC prospectus was developed by three county councils, 23 district and borough councils, three Local Enterprise Partnerships, businesses, 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups, two police forces and two police and crime commissioners, one combined fire authority, South Downs National Park and other wide public sector partners.
It sets out two collective ambitions to be negotiated with the Government which are:
- Economic growth and enhanced productivity and
- Public service transformation
The report says: “Across the 3SC there is a strong track record of partnership working and developing new approaches to delivering services: driving efficiencies, savings and greater value; and better services and outcomes for residents.
“The joint procurement by East Sussex district councils for the single waste collection service is noted, primarily for delivering £3 million worth of savings each year.
“The prospectus aims to help the area to cope with the cost of its current success, ensure all areas can benefit from the prosperity that exists in the South East and has the infrastructure and skills to remain successful in the future.”
Wealden collected and submitted feedback, on the draft prospectus, from five district and borough councils in East Sussex .
Its own response was that it would wish to engage with the process based on the following principles:
- Boroughs and districts cannot be financially disadvantaged by the proposals
- Boroughs and districts must be seen as equal partners
- The Governance structure must give appropriate and proportional representation to borough/districts (at all levels from the proposed combined authority, leaders board, right through to delivery boards and beyond)
- Representatives from boroughs and districts should be involved in the negotiation of the proposal with Government, and in all subsequent planning and implementation stages.
Wealden Cabinet is recommended to welcome the report and endorse the work to date.
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