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“The obvious next step!” Leader believes South Holland, East Lindsey and Boston Borough could become unitary authority





The South and East Lincolnshire Councils partnership could become a unitary authority.

That is the view of South Holland leader Nick Worth, whose council heads up the sub-region along with Boston Borough and East Lindsey, the largest councils partnership in the country serving a population of 306,919 residents over 1,112 square miles.

At present, service sharing between the three authorities has put them on course to make a £42 million saving over a 10 year period.

Coun Nick Worth
Coun Nick Worth

However, Coun Worth believes that forming unitary authority - responsible for all local government functions within its area - may one day be the natural progression, and it is a conversation that has already come up between himself and fellow leaders Coun Craig Leyland (East Lindsey) and Coun Anne Dorrian (Boston Borough).

“We have, the three leaders, had a discussion about what’s next,” he explained.

“You can only go so far (as a partnership). There’s a lot of work still to do but unitary is clearly on all three of our agendas as that’s the obvious next step.

Boston Borough Council leader Coun Anne Dorrian
Boston Borough Council leader Coun Anne Dorrian

“I think that at the end of the day it’s better value for the taxpayer to have unitary, but how that looks at the end of the day I’m not sure.”

Coun Worth added that his preference would be the three councils which currently make up the South & East Lincs Partnership working together under one umbrella, rather than including other neighbouring authorities.

“In our ideal world we’d stay as the three and make that one because we’re effectively there now,” her continued.

East Lindsey District Council leader Coun Craig Leyland
East Lindsey District Council leader Coun Craig Leyland

“We just don’t do adult social care and children’s services at the moment.”

Coun Worth added he believes Lincolnshire County Council are ‘on the same page’ as the partnership when it comes to this step forward, but added that their current priority must be devolution; forming a combined authority which also includes North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire coming under one mayor.

“I think after that it would be the time to look at it. But I think the smaller the unitary the better as you don’t want to lose the local voice,” he said.

South Holland District Council
South Holland District Council

Working alongside Boston Borough and East Lindsey has also beneffitted the three councils as staff - and leaders - have the opportunity to share working ideas.

“Certainly from a tourism perspective I have a lot to learn from East Lindsey, and then they can probably learn from what we’re doing in the food sector,” Coun Worth said.

“Working with the other two leaders has been really good. We all worked out early on where our red lines are.

Boston Borough Council's offices
Boston Borough Council's offices

“We get together quite regularly and discuss issues and learn from each other.

“It is interesting, you learn from best practice from others. I do a coupe, of peer reviews a year of other councils and they always say that’s one of the best things, what you pick up from other councils.”



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