Thurrock Council's Cabinet has agreed to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Basildon Council which confirms their intention to work more closely when proposing future governance arrangements for the boroughs.
Cllr Rob Gledhill, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: "I need to be clear from the start, this is not a merger as some will try to have you believe. We know that the south west Essex area is alive with opportunity, it is the beating heart of the Essex economy and a major player in linking London with the rest of the country and the rest of the world.
"With Local Government Reform and Local Devolution delayed from last year Thurrock need to be an a strong position to say what will work for the residents of Thurrock and not have any change dictated from outside or indeed to be done based on assumptions of the past. Signing the MOU is the start of a process to establish the opportunities and risks of closer working with Basildon Council to further build on the existing partnership established through the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA).
"No decisions have been made yet and this is the first step for both councils to consider how new ways of coming together can benefit everyone in our boroughs. The MOU will mean that Thurrock can work to unlock enormous economic and social benefits through joint working with Basildon, and harness the power of local-level decision making to achieve the best possible outcomes for our residents and our businesses.
You can read the Memorandum of Understanding on the Cabinet agenda, item 11, Wednesday 10 March.