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Promoting a citizens voice in the Combined Authority

Tue, 17/11/2015

Promoting a citizens voice in the Combined Authority

 

Introduction to West Midlands Civil Society Forum

Following a meeting on the 1st October 2015, a group of interested organisations and individuals agreed to establish a network to promote the citizens voice in the combined authority. The West Midlands Civil Society Forum was formed. The forum is an open forum of organisations and networks from across all sections of civil society which aims to inform, support and enable the West Midlands Combined Authority as it develops to build an engagement platform.

 

The Forum is building a network which is open and inclusive around the principle that there should be formal means for civil society to engage with the combined authority, calling upon those involved within the respective Local Authorities to commit to this principle in all developments.

 

The forum is currently developing its' structure and its' offer to West Midlands Comined Authority

 

West Midlands Comined Authority News Update

 

The Government has reached devolution agreement with local authorities in the West Midlands. This agreement is another significant step in the Government’s ambition for the Midlands Engine.

 

The agreement will give local leaders far-reaching new powers and enable voters to directly elect a Mayor in 2017, who will take on new powers over local transport budgets, adult skills funding, and strategic planning.

 

The deal also includes local control over investment funds for the next 30 years, which will help realise the economic potential of each area.

 

As part of the agreement, the new, directly elected Mayor of the West Midlands will act as Chair of the Combined Authority and will exercise the following powers and functions devolved from Ministers in Central Government:

  • Responsibility for devolved and consolidated transport budgets, with multi-year settlements to be agreed at the Spending Review.
  • Responsibility for franchised bus services, which will support the Combined Authorities’ delivery of smart and integrated ticketing across the city region.
  • Powers over strategic planning.
  • The Mayor will also have the option, on the basis of support from local business, to raise business rates. Further details will be set out following the Spending Review through a place-based settlement.

The West Midlands Combined Authority will, working with the Mayor, receive the following powers:

  • Control of multi-million pound investment allocations over 30 years, to realise the economic potential of their local areas as well as maximise the opportunities from HS2.
  • Greater control over local skills provision including control over the 19+ adult skills funding from 2018/19.
  • Joint responsibility with Government to co-design employment support for the harder-to-help claimants.
  • More effective joint working with UKTI to boost trade and investment.
  • Develop and implement a devolved approach to the delivery of national business support programmes from 2017.

 

As part of the West Midlands devolution deal, the Government will support the Combined Authority Shadow Board’s HS2 Growth Strategy, and will approve the business case for a significant extension of the Enterprise Zone at Curzon Street.

 

Local Enterprise Partnerships have played a key role in the negotiation of these agreements. The Government welcomes and supports co-operation between businesses and local government, and will work with both areas to ensure that devolution supports both the public and private sectors to deliver strong, sustainable local growth.

 

This agreement marks the next step in an ongoing process to devolve funding, responsibilities and powers from central government to the West Midlands.

 

For information / Reference

MS1 hasn’t been published just yet but the following may be of use:

Policy Papers

Press Releases

 

 

Have your say

A twitter account has been established @WMCivilSocForum. to capture views and comments.