‘Compromise’ fears over merged services

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LABOUR members of East Riding Council have voiced concerns that its services may be compromised by plans to share some functions and senior roles with the neighbouring Hull authority to cut costs.

Hull Council appointed Darryl Stephenson as its temporary chief executive earlier this month following the shock departure of Nicola Yates.

Coun Steve Brady, the Labour leader of Hull Council, said he would ask Mr Stephenson - who has previously held the post at both authorities - to discuss joint working arrangements with the East Riding.

But at a meeting of Tory-led East Riding Council, Labour member Paul Hogan asked its leader Stephen Parnaby if he would ensure “that no East Riding of Yorkshire Council services will be compromised, that our finances will be protected and that members have the opportunity to consider any arrangements”.

Coun Parnaby said high-level talks were planned between the councils next week, but added: “I can assure you that my priority as leader of this council is to ensure our services are not compromised and our finances are protected as far as possible in these challenging economic times.”

The authorities already collaborate on waste management, emergency planning, housing and other areas.

Announcing his plans for joint working, Coun Brady said: “The thinking behind it is you have two sets of structures, two sets of back office staff and in this day and age with modern technology we have to seriously look at that.”

Hull Council has to save £24m over the next three years, while the East Riding is seeking to slash £22m from its budget by 2016/17.

Coun Parnaby also promised “full and absolute clarity” over any changes.