Agenda item

DEVOLUTION DEAL FOR WEST YORKSHIRE - REVIEW OF GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS

On the 11th March 2020, the Chancellor announced a “minded to” Mayoral Devolution Deal for the West Yorkshire area (which covers the Local Authority areas of Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford). A report went to Executive on the 24th March which outlined the details of the devolution deal, its benefits for Bradford District, its people and its businesses and set out the required next steps.

 

This devolution deal unlocks revenue and capital funding worth £1.8 billion over the next 30 years. It follows similar deals in metropolitan areas including Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and will be the largest per person deal to date. The deal includes commitments on transport, business support, skills, innovation and tackling climate emergency.

 

Specific commitments for Bradford District include:

 

·               An additional £500,000 in direct funding to help Bradford Council develop a masterplan for Bradford city centre, maximising regeneration opportunities from Northern Powerhouse Rail.

·               A package of measures to transform Bradford City Centre through pedestrianisation, new cycle infrastructure and better access to Bradford Interchange

·               A new park-and-ride site for South Bradford providing alternative access to the city centre and key employment sites

·               Support for an ActEarly research hub (building on the Born in Bradford work at Bradford Royal Infirmary) which focuses on early interventions in childhood health to improve lives and opportunities for children and their families. The Council are currently working with Born in Bradford to examine how the proposal might be shaped in light of the response to the Coronavirus pandemic 

In addition to this, we are working with Combined Authorities on developing these commitments in the context of the impact of the recent COVID pandemic.

 

The proposed deal from the Government requires a number of governance changes. It requires that there will be a directly elected Mayor for West Yorkshire to be elected in May 2021. It will also unlock a number of central Government powers and funding to allow more local and accountable decision making.

 

The report approved by Executive on the 24th March 2020 endorsed the “minded to” deal on behalf of Bradford District and agreed for a statutory review to be undertaken jointly with the other West Yorkshire Councils and the Combined Authority and for a draft Governance scheme to be produced for consideration.

 

This activity has now taken place and is attached to the report of the Chief Executive (Document “BP”). This includes the statutory Review (appendix 1 to Document “BP”) and a draft governance Scheme (appendix 2 to Document “BP”).

 

All WYCA Constituent Councils (including CBMDC) need to endorse the review and Scheme at this point so a consultation can take place which will be led by West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Executive will receive a further report in due course to consider the outcome of this consultation.

 

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       To consider the Governance Review attached as Appendix 1 to Document “BP” and endorse its conclusions, including that an Order under S104 and S105 in relation to the changes to constitutional arrangements considered in the Review and the delegation of additional functions to the Combined Authority would be likely to improve the exercise of statutory functions in relation to the Combined Authority’s area.

 

(2)       To consider and comment on the draft Scheme for the establishment of the Mayoral Combined Authority, attached as Appendix 2 to Document “BP”.

 

(3)       To agree that a public consultation exercise is undertaken on the proposals contained in the Scheme and comment on the draft consultation questions, which are attached as Appendix 3 to Document “BP”.

 

(4)       To agree that engagement with the Combined Authority and other Constituent Councils should progress as described in Document “BP” and (subject to agreement to recommendations (1) – (3)) to agree that the Managing Director of the Combined Authority shall, in consultation with the Chief Executive and Leader of this Council, be authorised to take any steps to finalise the Scheme and progress the public consultation exercise as set out above.  

 

(5)       To note the updated timetable set out in Appendix 4 to Document “BP” and the next steps including, subject to the approval by the Constituent Councils and Combined Authority, the submission of a summary of the consultation responses to the Secretary of State in August/September 2020 and subsequently consent to any draft Order in September 2020 so that a mayoral combined authority model and associated changes may be adopted and implemented by May 2021, as set out in the Deal.

 

(6)       To resolve that this decision is exempt from call-in on the grounds of urgency, for the reasons set out in paragraph 10.1 of this report.

 

Minutes:

On the 11th March 2020, the Chancellor announced a “minded to” Mayoral Devolution Deal for the West Yorkshire area (which would cover the Local Authority areas of Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford). A report went to Executive on the 24th March which outlined the details of the devolution deal, its benefits for Bradford District, its people and its businesses and set out the required next steps.

 

This devolution deal would unlock revenue and capital funding worth £1.8 billion over the next 30 years. It followed similar deals in metropolitan areas including Greater Manchester and the West Midlands and would be the largest per person deal to date. The deal included commitments on transport, business support, skills, innovation and tackling climate emergency.

 

Specific commitments for Bradford District included:

 

·               An additional £500,000 in direct funding to help Bradford Council develop a masterplan for Bradford city centre, maximising regeneration opportunities from Northern Powerhouse Rail.

·               A package of measures to transform Bradford City Centre through pedestrianisation, new cycle infrastructure and better access to Bradford Interchange

·               A new park-and-ride site for South Bradford providing alternative access to the city centre and key employment sites

·               Support for an ActEarly research hub (building on the Born in Bradford work at Bradford Royal Infirmary) which focuses on early interventions in childhood health to improve lives and opportunities for children and their families. The Council are currently working with Born in Bradford to examine how the proposal might be shaped in light of the response to the Coronavirus pandemic 

 

In addition to this, the Council was working with the Combined Authority on developing these commitments in the context of the impact of the COVID pandemic.

 

The proposed deal from the Government required a number of governance changes. It required that there would be a directly elected Mayor for West Yorkshire to be elected in May 2021. It would also unlock a number of central Government powers and funding to allow more local and accountable decision making.

 

The report approved by Executive on the 24th March 2020 endorsed the “minded to” deal on behalf of Bradford District and agreed for a statutory review to be undertaken jointly with the other West Yorkshire Councils and the Combined Authority and for a draft Governance scheme to be produced for consideration.

 

This activity had now taken place and was attached to the report of the Chief Executive (Document “BP”). This included the statutory Review (appendix 1 to Document “BP”) and a draft governance Scheme (appendix 2 to Document “BP”).

 

All WYCA Constituent Councils (including CBMDC) were required to endorse the review and Scheme at this point so a consultation could take place which would be led by West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Executive would receive a further report in due course to consider the outcome of this consultation.

 

The Leader emphasised that the devolution deal would put West Yorkshire in the same powerful position as other devolved areas such as Manchester and the West Midlands with significant powers and funding in transport and education and skills.  She added that it was one of the best deals in the country for gain share and included £38.5m per year over 30 years. It would provide a better chance of effecting recovery with access to an additional £500,000 in direct funding to help Bradford Council develop a masterplan for Bradford city centre, maximising regeneration opportunities from Northern Powerhouse Rail.  She thanked the Leaders of  Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees and Calderdale Councils, the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Chancellor for their work in this regard.

 

The Chief Executive highlighted the commitment of an additional £500,000 in direct funding to help Bradford Council develop a masterplan for Bradford city centre, a new park-and-ride site for South Bradford and support for an ActEarly research hub.

 

The Councillor Poulsen was present and asked the following questions:

 

How will the benefits of the deal be promoted to the outer district?

 

How will the opposition membership be decided?

 

Are the Police and Crime Deputy Mayor and the Deputy for the mayor two different roles and how will they be appointed?

 

How will the current WYCA scrutiny relate to the Police and Crime Panel?

 

The Leader responded that the deal was for the whole of the district and West Yorkshire.  She added that there was already a West Yorkshire growth deal  that was funding the work to Hard Ings in Keighley and she was confident that benefits would be felt in the whole of the district.

 

With reference to membership she confirmed that this would be made up of the 5 West Yorkshire Authority Leaders and 3 opposition members who would be decided by the opposition.  She confirmed that there would be 2 deputy mayors  who would be appointed by the mayor.

 

The Managing Director of WYCA attended the meeting, referred to the statutory Review set out in Appendix 1 to Document “BP” and the draft governance Scheme set out in appendix 2, and noted that the consultation would be launched in the week commencing 25 May for 8 weeks.

 

The Leader requested that with regard to sections 15ZA and 514A Education Act 1996 (Section 3.4.2 of the draft Scheme) the Scheme be clarified that the functions remain with the constituent councils.

 

Councillor Winnard was present and endorsed the Leader’s opening remarks.  He supported the proposals, asked the following questions and responses were given:

 

The proposals include the provision for the Mayor to set a precept on Bradford’s hard pressed Council Tax payers  - it is important that the Consultation document is clear on this. Do we know the extent to which the amount of any precept would be capped? Similarly there is also provision for a Business Rate supplement (subject to ballot?) . Will there be a need for Bradford Council funds to make an increased financial contribution to be paid to the WYCA to support the new Mayoral function?

 

The Leader stated that the mayor would have the power to set a precept as part of the budget setting and confirmed that no additional money would be required from the Local Authorities. She added that she was mindful that Bradford provided £24m for transport in West Yorkshire and that 10 years of austerity had proved challenging in ensuring that value for money was achieved.

 

The Managing Director of WYCA added that the system would be subject to checks and balances so that the mayor could not set a budget without the agreement of all of the other West Yorkshire authorities.

 

Why was the decision made not to include some responsibility for health and social care in the devolution deal (as in Greater Manchester) –  it might be a missed opportunity  to support  the much needed greater integration of health and social care across West Yorkshire?

 

The Leader confirmed that health and social care was not offered as part of the deal.  She added that there was an integrated care system chaired by Calderdale combining expert knowledge and co-operation.

 

 With greater statutory responsibilities and over time a larger organisation  - there will be a need for enhanced scrutiny of WYCA and Mayoral functions. Could the Council use its influence to encourage WYCA to ensure that appropriate resources are provided to ensure that  Mayoral and WYCA use of public money can be effectively scrutinised, so that they can be held publically accountable for their decisions?

 

The Leader pointed out that all Leaders of West Yorkshire authorities had raised the issue of scrutiny. There was currently only one Scrutiny Committee and there would need to be more. She added that views would be sought at the scrutiny meeting on 22 May.

 

The Leader stressed again that the level of gain share for this deal was the highest of all the deals agreed. She added that it also had a wide range of flexibility and powers, that 75% of the deal was revenue and that it was a good deal.

 

Councillor Pennington was present and asked the following questions:

 

He was concerned that for any decision to be passed there was only a need for the mayor and 3 members from constituent councils to agree.

 

The Leader responded that the 5 constituent local authorities worked well together and wanted to continue with a partnership approach.  The Managing Director of WYCA added that where the mayor was making a decision that affected a particular Local Authority the agreement of the impacted Local Authority was required.

 

He noted that in the figures provided there was a gap of £0.4b and asked how this was accounted for.

 

The Managing Director of WYCA agreed to provide information for Councillor Pennington and the Executive members regarding headline funding.

 

Has any calculation been made of how much each of the 5 constituent authorities need and can the Government default on the agreement?

 

The Leader responded that she hoped that the Government would not renege on the agreement.  Discussions were taking place at Ministerial level and she was confident that the deal would be successfully concluded.

 

The Education, Employment and Skills Portfolio Holder thanked the Leader for her part in bringing devolution to West Yorkshire which had been well received.  He added that it opened up exciting new possibilities in areas such as Adult Education, giving more control over budgets and enhancing the work with colleges to support young people.  He welcomed the proposals

 

The Regeneration, Planning and Transport Portfolio Holder pointed out that as people from the whole of the district worked in the city centre, the additional £500,000 for the Council to develop a masterplan for Bradford city centre would benefit the whole district. He added that the Transforming Cities package would make it safer to walk and cycle which was being accelerated in the current circumstances. He referred to the proposed cycleway from the city centre to Thornton. In the longer term devolution would maximise the regeneration opportunities from Northern Powerhouse Rail.

 

The Leader pointed out that the Transforming Cities funding of £317m for West Yorkshire was the most generous in the country.

 

The Healthy People and Places Portfolio Holder referred to the climate emergency and added that devolution would allow the authority to make significant changes by 2030 and become a net zero carbon economy by 2038.  She added that green infrastructure such as cycle lanes and biodiversity together  with enhanced skills and employment would benefit the health and wellbeing of citizens of the district.

 

The Leader noted the need to maintain improved air quality and accelerate addressing the climate emergency.

 

The Children and Families Portfolio Holder noted as a Keighley Ward Councillor that devolution would bring opportunities to the Keighley area.  He also welcomed the support for an ActEarly research hub, building on the Born in Bradford work at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

 

The Leader noted that interventions informed by the ActEarly research hub would benefit children for life.

 

The Managing Director of WYCA advised members that consultation would be conducted digitally and would be co-ordinated by the Combined Authority but undertaken through constituent authorities. He added that the period of consultation was extensive and that enhanced engagement would take place with community and local groups with direct mail shots to hard to reach groups.

 

The Leader wanted to ensure that all Councillors were engaged in the consultation and expressed their views.

 

The Managing Director of WYCA responded to Councillor Pennington’s earlier question regarding funding and explained that the £1.8bn headline figure was made up of £1.1bn gain share which included an adult education budget of £315m for West Yorkshire over 5 years, £317m Transforming Cities fund, £25m heritage fund, £3.2m for housing and £500,000 for the Bradford master plan.

 

The Leader noted the significant sums of money involved in the deal and stressed that as the region came out of lockdown investment would be needed in employment and that devolution would support this.  She thanked the Managing Director of WYCA for his work in negotiating the devolution deal which would bring millions to the region and provide significant opportunities.

 

Resolved –

 

(1)       That the Governance Review attached as Appendix 1 to Document “BP” was considered and its conclusions endorsed, including that an Order under S104 and S105 in relation to the changes to constitutional arrangements considered in the Review and the delegation of additional functions to the Combined Authority would be likely to improve the exercise of statutory functions in relation to the Combined Authority’s area.

 

(2)       That the draft Scheme for the establishment of the Mayoral Combined Authority, attached as Appendix 2 to Document “BP” was considered and commented on.

 

(3)       That it be agreed that a public consultation exercise is undertaken on the proposals contained in the Scheme and comments invited on the draft consultation questions, which are attached as Appendix 3 to Document “BP”.

 

(4)       That it be agreed that engagement with the Combined Authority and other Constituent Councils should progress as described in Document “BP” and that the Managing Director of the Combined Authority, in consultation with the Chief Executive and Leader of this Council, be authorised to take any steps to finalise the Scheme and progress the public consultation exercise as set out above.  

 

(5)       That the updated timetable set out in Appendix 4 to Document “BP” and the next steps including, subject to the approval by the Constituent Councils and Combined Authority, the submission of a summary of the consultation responses to the Secretary of State in August/September 2020 and subsequently the need to consent to any draft Order in September 2020 so that a mayoral combined authority model and associated changes may be adopted and implemented by May 2021, as set out in the Deal be noted.

 

(6)       That this decision is exempt from call-in on the grounds of urgency, for the reasons set out in paragraph 10.1 of Document “BP”.

 

ACTION: Chief Executive

Supporting documents: