Report: IPPR Empowering counties: Unlocking county devolution deals – CCN Response

CCN News 2015 | 16 November 2015

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IPPR launch independent study into county devolution and governance alongside CCN response.

Today, the Insitute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) publishes a major study into county devolution and governance.

The report will be launched at the CCN Summit & Annual Conference.

This report considers how the decentralisation process is impacting on England’s counties, and how these diverse areas can – by securing locally-specific powers and governance arrangements – boost their economies and improve their services. The full report can downloaded here.

In response to the study CCN has produced a response document. The full document can be found here.

The report and CCN’s response was covered by the Independent here.

CCN Response – Summary

In March 2015 the County Councils Network (CCN) commissioned the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) to undertake an independent analysis of devolution and put forward proposals for county governance. This is the first in-depth study into county governance since Government announced its intention to devolve major new powers to local authorities, firstly under the Coalition, and now through the Cities & Local Government Devolution Bill. The report presents an important milestone in the discussions around county devolution and models for effective governance.

In response, CCN broadly welcomes the findings of the independent study. The analysis on Government policy to date, devolution progress in county areas, and the opportunities and barriers to developing effective governance models represents an important contribution to the national debate.

Overall, the models and good practice presented demonstrate that counties and their partners are developing robust models to underpin ambitious local deals, but government and local areas have more to do. Crucially, while a few counties may feel a metro-mayor is suitable for their area, this report demonstrates that the Government must be open to developing alternatives rather than insisting this model is a prerequisite for ‘substantial’ and truly transformative devolution deals.

In insisting on this one-size-fits all model, Government is artificially limiting the ambition of local areas and the opportunities of devolution to all county areas. CCN believe that a continuation of this approach will undermine the Government’s objectives for devolution, growth and public service reform in England, leading to a two-speed devolution process and a fragmented and disjointed local government and public service map.