Plans for 'strategic collaboration' between Harborough District Council and Melton Borough Council take a step closer

Harborough’s cabinet voted for a business case to be prepared.
Plans for a strategic collaboration have taken a step forward.Plans for a strategic collaboration have taken a step forward.
Plans for a strategic collaboration have taken a step forward.

Plans for a ‘strategic collaboration’ between Harborough District Council and Melton Borough Council have moved a step closer.

Harborough District Council’s cabinet has voted for a business case to be prepared before a final decision is made. Melton’s cabinet will discuss the plan at its meeting tonight (Wednesday).

The report could cost up to £50,000, but Harborough’s ruling Conservative party say if the collaboration is goes ahead it will cut costs long term.

Earlier this year the authority agreed to look for a partner to work with strategically, which it said would have a number of benefits including shared chief executive and senior roles, jointly commissioned projects, reducing duplication and increase influence regionally. It comes after the council’s chief executive retired earlier this year.

Harborough District Council leader Cllr Phil King said: “Early discussions with Melton Borough Council leader have been positive and we feel there is potential for even greater collaboration between the two councils which could bring opportunities, including greater resilience in the services we deliver to our communities.

“We now need to develop a business case and listen to the views of our key stakeholders to make sure that we have fully explored the opportunities and risks associated with any partnership. The business case report will be considered at our December council meeting along with more detailed discussions before a final decision is made.”

But leader of the opposition, Lib Dem Cllr Phil Knowles, said he and his group oppose the plans.

He told the Harborough Mail: “The loss of the chief executive has raised concerns within the group. We have told the controlling cabinet we will not support this move as we are worried about potential impact on service provision and the decision-making structure.

“We have asked this position is made clear to potential partners. We are asking if this is the right time to spend this amount of money and we clearly don’t think it is.”

The two authorities already work closely on initiatives and services including Lifeline monitoring – a personal alarm service for vulnerable and elderly people - out of hours support and parking enforcement.

Discussions are also in place about the potential to collaborate in other areas including waste and environment, regulatory services and CCTV monitoring.