Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that his department are beginning to design a ‘devolution framework’ and will consider non-mayor county devolution bids, in his speech at CCN Conference.
In positive speech, he said counties have a strong, strategic role to play in the present and future, and described this week’s ResPublica report as ‘fascinating’ and an example of ‘proactively’ looking at ‘innovative’ ways of dealing with the challenges the sector faces.
He said: “Well, if you have an idea for making local government work better, one that serves the interests of local people, then please come and tell me about it.
“If local people want it, if local businesses want it, I’ll do what I can to help you make it happen. And that could include non-mayoral combined authorities in, for example, rural areas where a single figurehead isn’t necessarily suitable.
“To help with that process we’re looking at how to design a devolution framework.
“Work is still in the early stages – and I’d welcome your support in shaping the final product.
But I want a framework that, above all else, provides clarity and consistency about what a successful devolution agreement looks like.”
Responding to the Secretary of State’s speech, Cllr Paul Carter, Chairman of the County Councils Network, said:
“CCN strongly welcomes Sajid Javid’s confirmation yesterday that government will design a ‘devolution framework’ and his confirmation that he will consider non-mayoral county devolution bids following strong advocacy from the network.
“Importantly, the Secretary of State strongly welcomed the report published yesterday by ResPublica and its contribution to shaping this guidance, and in a hugely positive speech on the role of county authorities he outlined that they play a vital strategic role in providing the key infrastructure to support housing and economic prosperity.
“We believe this guidance could help unlock the county devolution agenda and we look forward to working with government on the framework, to be announced shortly.”