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Derbyshire County council to ‘have a voice’ at East Midlands authority with new county partnership

Derbyshire County Council Leader, Councillor Barry Lewis

Derbyshire County Council says it has has taken a vital step towards having a greater say at the newly formed East Midlands Combined County Authority after it agreed to join and host a new Derby and Derbyshire Strategic Leadership Board with nine other councils.

Council leader Barry Lewis told a cabinet meeting on February 22 the new partnership will create a more effective role in influencing future plans for the county’s prosperity under the newly formed EMCCA which was forged on February 28 with the signing of the last piece of legislation by Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young.

Cllr Lewis said: “It’s all around collaboration and coordination in driving forward shared initiatives and where we can work more closely together for the greater establishment and tie in with the newly proposed EMCCA.”

The Derby and Derbyshire Strategic Leadership Board’s remit will include regeneration, economic development, business and skills, transport, climate, the environment, health, well-being, reviving the post-Covid-19 pandemic economy, and improving the delivery of functions.

Two Derbyshire local authority partnerships, the Vision Derbyshire project, which had overseen future developments, and the D2 Joint Committee for Economic Prosperity, are to be dissolved and most of their work will drop into the new strategic partnership.

The council stated that the new partnership will shape EMCCA’s thinking, planning and decision making on local investment priorities.

Cllr Lewis added the formation of the new board with a new Joint Committee will create a more efficient and rationalised approach with a ‘collective voice’ reducing ‘overlapping priorities’ and bureaucracy.

He added: “This new Joint Committee will bring together all the Derby and Derbyshire councils for that single shared drive on matters of shared interest for the EMCCA and on a national level also.”

As host authority, Derbyshire County Council will operate and oversee the Joint Committee and oversee and administer the new board’s meetings.

Cllr Alex Dale, Cabinet Member for Education, agreed that it was important to ‘have a voice at the table’ and hopes the partnership will help to grow the economy and improve Derbyshire.

Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, Cllr Tony King, believes the new partnership will help to reduce the overall number of boards that can become stale and just ‘talking shops’ and that the new board should ensure the council can get the best outcomes for Derbyshire.

Councils will each be allowed to appoint one Elected Member and one substitute board member as partnership representatives and the county council cabinet selected Cllr Lewis as its representative and Deputy Leader, Cllr Simon Spencer, as its ‘substitute’ in the eventuality of Cllr Lewis’s absence.

The cabinet approved the establishment of the new partnership board, the council’s membership, Cllr Lewis and Cllr Spencer’s appointments, that the council will be the host authority, and that Vision Derbyshire Joint Committee and the D2 Joint Committee for Economic Prosperity will be dissolved.

Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet’s also recently approved its membership of the new Derby and Derbyshire Strategic Leadership Board.

Derbyshire’s councils have also already agreed to the formation of the new East Midlands Combined County Authority as part of a devolution deal which is hoped to bring in billions of pounds in funding and investment for the region.

Councils across the East Midlands, including those in Derbyshire, will not be scrapped or merged under the devolution deal and they will still oversee many public services, but EMCCA will deal with broader issues like transport, regeneration and employment.

EMCCA’s inaugural Mayoral Election is due to take place on May 2 when voters from Derbyshire, Derby, Nottinghamshire and Nottingham will be able to select who they believe should be the first East Midlands Mayor.

Mayoral candidates include Conservative Mansfield MP and Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Ben Bradley, Labour’s former Watford MP Claire Ward, who now lives in Nottinghamshire, and Ashfield Independent and Ashfield District Cllr Matt Relf.

 

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