Rochford District Council and Brentwood Borough Council formalise their strategic partnership

Date: 
Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Rochford District Council and Brentwood Borough Council have formalised their strategic partnership following the initial six-month trial period of a joint Chief Executive.

The decision was unanimously agreed at Rochford District Council’s Full Council meeting on 25 January. Agreement followed at Brentwood Borough Council’s Extraordinary Council meeting the next night. The move marks the start of a formal collaborative partnership agreement between the two councils that will see each retain its sovereignty and independent governance. The aim of the strategic partnership is to maximise opportunities and enhance financial resilience.

Rochford District Council Leader, Councillor Simon Wootton and Brentwood Borough Council Leader, Councillor Chris Hossack, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations to move the partnership forward.

Rochford District Council Leader, Councillor Simon Wootton said; “Working closer together offers both councils increased capacity, opportunities and resilience, together with greater financial stability. We are starting with the sharing of a joint Chief Executive which offers both councils an immediate financial saving and assists in the creation of this strong strategic partnership between our two councils.

“I want to be clear though that this is not a merger and our residents will not notice any difference to the quality services they deserve and expect from us.

“It is a challenging time for local government but through our strategic partnership we are now able to explore possibilities that will offer the potential to strengthen and improve services for both councils and our residents.”

CEO Jonathan Stephenson added, “Rochford and Brentwood share many similarities. Our officers already work closely but this new arrangement will allow us to explore meaningful co-working opportunities to better use our resources for the greater good of residents across the two areas. The resources each organisation has are typical of small local authorities, so it makes perfect sense to come together to share knowledge, experience and projects for the overall benefit of both authorities and south Essex.”

Brentwood Borough Council Leader, Councillor Chris Hossack said; “We are committed to ensuring the best possible service for residents in Brentwood and the partnership is based on putting residents first and foremost for both organisations.

“Local authorities are under considerable pressure financially and we must innovate to remain sustainable. The last six months have allowed considerable work to be undertaken, including learning from similar partnerships elsewhere, to see whether the idea of a partnership could bring forward practical and tangible benefits. We are confident that in the next few years this will be the case, and I look forward to seeing the results

“Brentwood has been proactive in responding to challenges by delivering services more effectively and establishing additional income streams while reducing costs. Brentwood and Rochford share the same desires - to work more effectively to drive sustainable growth for the local economy, and for the area its residents work and live in.”