Devolution in Greater Essex

Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea City Council and Thurrock Council, along with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, have agreed to work toward a level 2 devolution deal - which if agreed, would involve creating a new Greater Essex Combined Authority.

A deal would mean better funding and local decision making in areas such as the economy, skills, transport and support for businesses.

The combined authority would be a new institution in which Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea City Council and Thurrock Council, working closely with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, will take collective decisions on the powers and budgets that Government devolves to Greater Essex.

It would not be a merger of the three councils. Each authority will remain independent, as would the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner. The deal would also not involve a directly elected mayor.

The combined authority would incorporate the former role of the Local Enterprise Partnership, following the Government’s decision to disband these and bring them under local democratic oversight.

City, district and borough councils in Essex would also have a voice under the combined authority to ensure that local needs continue to be reflected in all decision-making.

The three authorities, alongside the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, have confirmed they will enter into negotiations with the Government with the aim of agreeing a devolution deal in time for the Government’s Autumn Budget Statement on 22 November.

The Government published a framework for level 2 deals in the Levelling Up White Paper. The details of the Greater Essex deal will be finalised in negotiations with the Government over the coming weeks. Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock Councils will then undertake full public consultations on it.