In November 2014 the seven West Midlands Metropolitan Borough Councils (Birmingham City Council, City of Wolverhampton Council, Coventry Council, Dudley Council, Solihull Council, Sandwell Council and Walsall Council) began discussing the benefits of creating a Combined Authority for the West Midlands region.
After much negotiation, and further discussions with government, the seven Metropolitan Councils agreed to form a West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), which formally came into being on 17 June 2016. The seven Metropolitan Borough Councils are now 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 devolution agreement, agreed in principle in November 2015, is based on government promising long term secure investment and on powers moving from Westminster to the West Midlands region.
An elected Mayor for the WMCA geographical area (the Constituent Councils) is a government condition of the devolution agreement. Pending the Parliamentary process to create the Mayoral Combined Authority, the election for the Mayor will take place across the seven Constituent Councils on 4 May 2017.
Where are we now?
This first devolution agreement will see £36.5 million per year over the next 30 years of new investment funding. This guaranteed income stream, along with other financial measures, will enable the WMCA to fund an £8 billion investment programme.
Having negotiated and accepted the devolution agreement, the seven Constituent Councils and the WMCA have approved the creation of a Mayoral Combined Authority including the election of a Mayor and the associated Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme for consultation.
It is the proposals in the Scheme which form the basis of this consultation.
These arrangements will allow the West Midlands region to deliver the devolution agreement. Further details of how the aspirations of the devolution agreement will be delivered are contained in the recently published Strategic Economic Plan, which is available on the WMCA website.
The full details of the Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme are available here, along with ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, the Devolution Agreement, Governance Review and SEP.
A Public Sector Equality Assessment of the Scheme has been undertaken, and can be found here.
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 for Communities and Local Government, before an Order could be laid before Parliament.
It will give the Secretary of State an understanding of what the public, partners, stakeholders, businesses and voluntary sector think of the functions and responsibilities of a Mayoral WMCA and how the Scheme meets the Secretary of State’s key tests. The key tests and considerations are:
- Whether the Secretary of State considers that making the Order [based on the Scheme] is likely to improve the exercise of statutory functions in the Combined Authority ‘area’ (i.e. the Constituent Councils),
- To reflect the identities and interests of local communities; and
- To secure effective and convenient local government.
There are nine questions on the proposals in the Mayoral WMCA Scheme plus boxes to provide any additional feedback.
Find the links here: West Midlands Combined Authority Mayoral Consultation