Lincolnshire’s outgoing Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick has expressed ‘disappointment’ that the county’s new devolution deal will not change existing structures of local government.
As reported previously, Greater Lincolnshire partners won a bid to see powers and funding devolved from central government, overseen by a new directly elected mayor.
Chancellor George Osborne’s budget announcement on Wednesday, March 17 confirmed a new ‘combined authority’ made up of 10 Lincolnshire authorities and partners would receive £15 million a year for the next 30 years.
The funding would be allocated for new infrastructure projects to boost economic growth.
Among other responsibilities, the new mayor and combined authority will work closely with government and local criminal justice partners such as PCCs, local prison governors and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC).
Following the announcement, Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick welcomed opportunities for investment and growth, however questioned the implementation of the new authority in relation to existing structures.
He said: “The proposed devolution agreement for Greater Lincolnshire offers a real opportunity to boost investment and growth, and deliver improved public services for all those who live within the historic boundaries of the County of Lincolnshire.
“Clearly the detail now needs to be worked through. Lincolnshire’s newly elected PCC must have a view about the proposals around public protection given the statutory responsibilities PCCs have not just for policing, but across the criminal justice system.
“It is disappointing that the agreement suggests that the existing structures of local government should remain, in essence creating an additional layer of bureaucracy.
“The true transformation and leadership we require can only come through fundamental change to the existing council structures. However, the spirit of the agreement, in terms of the outcomes it aims to achieve, is one I whole-heartedly support.
“A directly elected mayor, with powers currently held by both government and existing local authorities, can and will deliver a real visionary future for the County and place it firmly in the vanguard.”