William Eichler 28 October 2015

West Midlands sets out details of combined authority

The shadow West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has submitted its final plans for becoming a combined authority to the Government.

The Scheme and Governance Review sets out the proposed membership, geography, funding, powers, duties and executive arrangements of the projected combined authority, and seeks to justify its creation in the West Midlands.

The government’s devolution drive has involved the setting up of combined authorities throughout the country, most recently with the creation of the North East Combined Authority, and is aimed at shifting powers from Whitehall to the regions.

The Government will review the WMCA’s submission to assess whether it meets the statutory tests. An order will then be created which will take six weeks and after that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will run an eight week statutory consultation.

Both Houses of Parliament will discuss the Scheme and Governance Review, and if its approved communities secretary Greg Clark will confirm a formal date of establishment. This would be April 2016 at the earliest.

Cllr Bob Sleigh, chair of the WMCA Shadow Board, commented: ‘This is an exciting time for the West Midlands. Fifteen members are now signed up to the emerging West Midlands Combined Authority and are committed to working together to build a stronger economy and better public services with new jobs, better skills, more housing and quicker transport links that will benefit local people and businesses throughout the region.’

He continued: ’We have worked hard to deliver our Scheme and Governance Review to government who will now follow its procedures around review and consultation. This is not a quick process and nor should it be. However, it is another important step forward for the Combined Authority, a step to legitimising us as a governing body.’

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