London Councils to make substantial savings through merging services

Could this be a blueprint for a savings in South Essex? 3 London Councils are coming together to deliver significant savings for their residents and taxpayers.  Link to article. Each of the 3  London Borough Council’s will keep its Council Leader and Councillors but services like waste collection, care and education etc.  will be commissioned and provided across the larger area as one. Would this produce similar savings in South Essex? How big could South Essex become?  Castle Point, Rochford and Southend or with Basildon and/or Thurrock as well? All these Councils have worked together around Thames Gateway South Essex relatively well.

How could the savings be made? Well there could be a far  smaller administrative core of officers, perhaps just one set of a Chief of Executive and senior Directors, larger contracts should result in more competitive tenders and economies of scale would be found in most sectors. Would there be disadvantages? Quite possibly but unless we seriously consider the options it is difficult to know if the disadvantages outweigh the advantages or vice versa. South Essex is already tentatively discussing working together where there are advantages to be found around affordable housing, social care and health, perhaps the time has come to start to consider moving it all a step further!

In the past when such ideas have ideas have been floated Southend has been portrayed as ‘being after’ Rochford’s green fields and further discussions have failed, but land is not what this is about and that particular bug bear can be dealt with and safeguarded against anyway.  Let’s move on and have a seroius, grown up discusion to see if there are any advantages for residents. Any comments?

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2 responses to “London Councils to make substantial savings through merging services

  1. Not sure you would need to keep all elected members as they could cover larger areas. The main problem would be conflicting priorities in the different Councils and how officers and members from different areas and political parties would deal with that. Also Thurrock and Southend are unitary so not sure how that would work. The local resident would lose their local decision making tool. But some services as you say economies of scale would save money.

  2. Keeping all the Cllrs would help to keep the local element but I agree it is not essential. regarding local priorities yes these will be different, for example in southend there are bin bags and in rochfoord wheely bins. Planning priorities also differ but with a bit of goodwill and commons sense I think it could be possible to accomodate local issues. As for the who might wish to join and the Unitary V District V County issue again we were serious about assessing the pros and cons of a coming together and flexible enough we could sit down and find a way forward.

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