About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Sheffield City Region Combined Authority Meeting 14th September 2015, by Nigel Slack.

I attended the meeting today to see what progress was to be reported on the Chancellor's so called devolution deals. The SCRCA (Sheffield City Region Combined Authority) delivered their proposals to the Government last week and I was hoping to find out something of what that contained.

Item 19 on the agenda was the relevant report and the update was delivered by the chair of the Combined Authority, Sir Steve Houghton, Leader of Barnsley MBC (Metropolitan Borough Council).
He reported that the SCRCA proposals had been delivered and that they contained six themes and thirty asks, though there was no detail. The receipt of the proposals has been acknowledged by the Government and they have instructed their officials to now negotiate the detail with the SCRCA officials. This, the chair commented would take weeks and potentially months and will begin next week.
He followed this by stating that, if the offer from Government did not satisfy they would be prepared to turn it down, particularly as they understand the requirement for a SCRCA Mayor still stands. He also made it clear that the Mayoral model was not their preference but reiterated that, if the offered 'devolution' was significant enough then they would consider it. He also confirmed for the second time that the offered deal would be consulted on, both with individual Councils of the SCRCA and also with the public.
Finally he confirmed that the basis of the proposals they put together was very much an economic stimulus deal and not about some of the ancillary powers that have been offered to Greater Manchester.

After the meeting I managed to have a quick word with Ben Still, leading the negotiating team for the SCRCA and he confirmed that the proposals they put forward have not included the PCC powers coming to the SCRCA nor the Fire Service budget or Health & Social Care budget. They have very much concentrated on the economic issues that are most appropriate to a cross boundary Authority like ours. I asked whether he felt there would be a deal in time for the Chancellor's Autumn Statement and his thought was that something might be agreed in principle by then.
We also chatted about the potential absurdity that could arise from Governmental intransigence on the Mayoral model, where the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire members of the SCRCA could end up with two Mayors. One from their own County and one from the SCRCA.

We now have to see where this theatre of the absurd takes us next.

No comments:

Post a Comment