When completed, these devolution deals will be the first of their kind, with these county authorities being the first to adopt directly elected leadership models of upper-tier councils, without a combined authority.
Separately, the Government has laid an amendment to Clause 16 of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to ensure that the powers and functions that a new Combined County Authority (CCA) can only be those derived from upper-tier councils, or district councils where they choose to exercise powers jointly.
Below, the CCN responds to today’s announcements.
Cllr Martin Hill, Devolution Spokesperson of the County Councils Network, said:
“The announcement today that the devolution deal is Suffolk is complete, with those in Cornwall and Norfolk close to completion is another milestone in the county devolution agenda. All three agreements could be genuinely transformative for their local areas, with the Suffolk devolution deal the first of its kind in putting forward a directly elected county leadership model.
“In all of these areas, as well as the previously agreed deals with Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and North Yorkshire, county authorities have shown flexibility and a willingness to meet government halfway in considering to adopt a mayor or a directly-elected leader. We know how transformative county devolution can be, and we are urging government to go further and faster – turbocharging devolution so at least two-thirds of County Councils Network members have begun discussions, at least, by 2025.
“Separately, the government has laid an amendment to Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill to ensure that the powers and functions that a new Combined County Authority (CCA) can only be those derived from upper-tier councils, or district councils where they choose to exercise powers jointly.
“Earlier this year, ministers reassured all parts of the sector that the intention behind Clause 16 was never to unilaterally strip any councils of their powers, and today’s amendment, which we will support, confirms there is no intention of using this new legislation to force reallocation of functions between tiers of local government.
“It is imperative, however, that the government now progress the Bill as soon as possible and ensure that no further changes are made to the legislation on CCAs, including constitute membership. The upper-tier CCA provides a far more suitable governance model for complex county areas, with the ability for county and unitary authorities to work closely with district councils in their area.”