East Hants wanted split from Havant, councillors claim

By Dan Peters | 04 March 2022

An ex-leader of Havant BC has expressed disappointment that East Hampshire DC will establish its own management team after a 12-year partnership with his authority.

Cllr Tony Briggs was leader in 2009 when Havant and neighbouring East Hampshire made moves towards sharing a chief executive and backing the partnership between the two local authorities.

He said: ‘It’s been successful.

'It saved a considerable amount of money for both local authorities.

‘The decision, as I understand it, has been made in East Hampshire.

'It was certainly a surprise.

'It’s always disappointing when a marriage comes to an end.’

Havant councillor David Guest, a former Cabinet member, said the partnership had reduced costs for both councils through the sharing of staff.

Fellow Havant councillor David Keast added: ‘It’s unfortunate that East Hampshire wants a divorce.

'Financially, East Hampshire is much more sound than we are because the area is a bit more prosperous.

‘We’ve put a lot of time and effort into the partnership.

'I think everyone was quite shocked by it.’

The announcement to split came just 16 months after the councils announced they were ‘looking to strengthen’ their ties to make both authorities ‘more efficient and effective’.

In September 2020 the councils said they were ‘looking at new ways of working more closely together, including having one, flexible workforce,’ with East Hampshire leader, Cllr Richard Millard claiming the changes ‘would see us become a better, more resilient council’.

The shocked former deputy leader of Havant, Cllr Gary Hughes, said it ‘seemed as though something of a Damascene conversion had occurred at East Hants,’ adding: ‘We have been presented with no option other than to accept the ending of the partnership.’

Joint chief executive Gill Kneller will take on the top role at East Hampshire while interim chief operating officer Kim Sawyer will become acting boss of Havant.

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