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Combined Authority

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is twelve local authorities and three Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) working together to move powers from Whitehall to the West Midlands.

West Midland Combined Authority Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme Consultation

A consultation on the Mayoral West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Functions Scheme starts on Monday 4 July at 9.00am until midnight on Sunday 21 August.

Background

In November 2014 seven local authorities (Birmingham City Council, Coventry Council, City of Wolverhampton Council, Dudley Council, Solihull Council, Sandwell Council and Walsall Council) from across the West Midlands began discussing the benefits of creating a Combined Authority for the region.

After much negotiation, and further discussions with government, the seven constituent councils agreed to form a West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which came into being on 17 June 2016, and became the constituent councils of the WMCA.

As these negotiations progressed the Government began discussing the potential of a Devolution Agreement with the newly forming Combined Authority. This first Agreement is based on government promising long term secure investment and on powers moving from Westminster to the region.

An elected Mayor for the WMCA geographical area is a condition of the Devolution Agreement. Pending the outcome of the Parliamentary process to create the mayoral combined authority, the election for the Mayor will take place on 4 May 2017.

Where are we now?

This first Devolution Agreement will see £36.5m per annum over the next 30 years of new investment and will result in around £8bn of investment.

Having negotiated and accepted the Devolution Agreement, the seven constituent councils and the Combined Authority have approved the creation of a mayoral combined authority including the election of a mayor and the associated Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme. It is the proposals in the Scheme which form the basis of this consultation.

These arrangements will allow the region to deliver the Devolution Agreement. Further details of how the Agreement will be delivered are contained in the recently published Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

The full details of the Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme are available, along with FAQs, the Devolution Agreement, Governance Review and SEP.

You can download a Public Sector Equality Assessment of the scheme.

The proposals in the Scheme, including the functions of the Mayoral WMCA, are the subject of this consultation.

This consultation asks for your views on the different functions it is proposed that the Mayoral WMCA could have.

Prior to any decisions being made, findings from the consultation will be sent as part of the Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme to inform the decision making of the Secretary of State (SoS) and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) before an Order could be laid before Parliament.

It will give the SoS an understanding of what the public think of the functions and responsibilities of a Mayoral WMCA and how the Scheme meets the SoS’s key tests of whether they promote efficient and effective governance and their impact on local community identity.

There are nine questions on the proposals in the Mayoral WMCA scheme and free text boxes to provide any additional feedback.

Complete the consultation

January 2016 consultation

A public consultation into the proposed schemes for a WMCA was carried out from 18 January to 8 February 2016.

It was undertaken to help the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government make a decision regarding the establishment of a Combined Authority in the West Midlands. The consultation report summarises the consultation responses.

Taking powers from Westminster

The WMCA signed a devolution agreement with Government on 17 November 2015 at Coventry University’s Institute of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering.

The Agreement, worth £36.5 million a year for 30 years, is currently being ratified by all constituent members. It could see an overall investment package totalling in excess of £8 billion although this figure could rise as negotiations with government continue and include other programmes.

The Government is making the election of a West Midlands metro-mayor a condition of the Agreement.

For Solihull this means direct investment of £636 million over the 30 year period, plus further benefits from the overall £8 billion investment package; including Junction 6 (M42) improvements, HS2 Interchange funding and other transport investment, plus investment into skills, infrastructure and businesses.

Solihull Council formally agreed to join the WMCA at a Full Council meeting on Tuesday 1 March 2016.

Please find below a summary of the West Midlands Combined Authority Devolution Agreement with HM Treasury and also the full Devolution Agreement document.

Why Solihull is interested in joining a combined authority

Solihull Council’s involvement rests on the economic-plus model which means a combined authority must deliver more economic growth than Solihull could achieve on its own and at a faster rate.

Solihull has an ambitious growth strategy that aims to build on the borough’s current economic success. With the arrival of HS2 and the potential of UK Central there are significant opportunities to create new jobs and homes within the borough. However, to maximise the opportunities Solihull needs the West Midlands region to perform more effectively and for more focused investment in skills and transport.

A combined authority could provide the extra investment that will create economic-plus growth for the borough, accelerating our plans for managed growth and bringing real benefits to the local economy.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bob Sleigh has undertaken a number of briefings to key borough stakeholders to ensure a better understanding the proposals and the benefits for the borough. He has also recently written to them to encourage support for the proposals and sought their views on Solihull joining a combined authority.

Not a Super Council

A combined authority will not see West Midlands Councils merging to form one large council. This proposal will not change any of the services Solihull Council currently provides to residents. Solihull Council will continue to serve the local area in the same way it always has.

Further information

The Statement of Intent can be found at www.westmidlandscombinedauthority.org.uk.

For further information about the proposals read our Facts, Myths & Frequently Asked Questions document.

To view the Council papers relating to the combined authority debates visit the following links below:

Keeping up-to-date

If you want to keep up-to-date with the combined authority proposals, subscribe to our combined authority topic on Solihull Council’s Stay Connected service www.solihull.gov.uk/stayconnected.

If you have any comments or want further information please contact us via combinedauthority@solihull.gov.uk.

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