People given power to take over services

A new legislation offering community organisations the chance to take over council services has provoked a mixed response from councillors.

The Community Right to Challenge scheme, part of the government’s localism act, is intended to give the voluntary sector greater influence over their community.

East Lindsey District Council, which is required by law to accept expressions of interest from parish councils or other community groups, considered the ramifications of the legislation during a meeting last week.

Portfolio holder for corporate affairs Coun Victoria Ayling, presenting a report on the scheme, said: “We don’t really know what the outcome of this will be - it’s a new piece of legislation.”

Several Labour councillors voiced concerns about the fragmentation of council services, which they feared could have unforeseen consequences.

Coun Laura Stephenson worried that important services, like the probation service, though not operated by ELDC, could be mishandled by the voluntary sector.

Assurances were made by Coun Ayling that stringent measures were in place to ensure services would not fall into the wrong hands.

But Coun Steve O’Dare of Skegness Winthorpe Ward said he felt that if an organisation were able to deliver a service more effectively than ELDC, it would better for the authority and the community.