Working with the Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC), in 2018 Essex County Council announced a pilot scheme to run in 2019/20, from 1 March 2019 until 29 February 2020.
This pilot will devolve a range of highways maintenance responsibilities to Parish or Town councils who are interested in trialling devolution and are prepared to sign an agreement scoping the arrangement.
ECC is also in discussions with District Councils too, for unparished areas.
The service areas being devolved in the pilot are primarily ‘streetscene’ type items – things which if left under-repaired or maintained can significantly disfigure the local environment. However they are also items which have a lower general priority for investment by the County Council and so are less likely to be dealt with in the near future.
Parish and Town Councils who sign up to the pilot are free to choose which combination of the in-scope activities they wish to deliver. There is no obligation to deliver all the activities listed; participating councils may choose which particular services they wish to deliver.
The 2019/20 pilot is grant-funded by ECC. Participating Parishes and Towns may wish to consider topping up funds from their own resources, and / or combine their funding grant with those of neighbouring parishes who may also be participating.
As further background information, ECC have previously published a CMA (‘Cabinet Member Action’) on the pilot.