A summary of the proposed merger and devolution landscape across Local Government in February 2024 from our Head of Data:
Unusually compared with the past few years, there don’t appear to be any new Unitaries (District and County mergers) currently on the horizon for 2024, however there are a lot of consultations going on.
The new North Yorkshire Council and the City of York Council have created The York and North Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (enshrined in Law December 2023). Both authorities currently selecting mayoral candidates for election in May 2024. The new mayor and combined authority will hold powers over transport, skills, planning and regeneration, and policing and fire services.
With Parliament For Ratification
East Midlands (Derbyshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Derby City Council and Nottingham City Council). Sent to Parliament for ratification in November 2023 with a view to create the new East Midlands Combined County Authority and carry out Mayoral elections in Spring 2024.
Final Council Vote
Norfolk County Council - Final decision to send to Parliament for ratification to be decided in a vote in July 2024. The aim would be for an election to take place in May 2025 for a new “Leader of the Council” replacing the existing arrangement (leader of the political group with the most seats being Leader).
Started Public Consultation Phase
* Level 3 Deals
Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire Councils started the public consultation phase for a Mayoral Combined Authority on 2 January 2024. Following results a decision will be taken in March 2024 as to whether or not to progress to a request to government for a devolution deal which will then lead to the creation of a combined authority and Mayoral elections in May 2025.
Greater Lincolnshire (North, North East and Lincolnshire County Council) have started the public consultation phase for a Mayoral Combined Authority ending on 29 January 2024. Following results a decision will be taken in March 2024 as to whether or not to progress to a request to government for a devolution deal which will then lead to the creation of a combined authority and Mayoral elections in May 2025.
North East - Bringing together the North East Combined Authority (Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council) and North of Tyne Mayoral Combined Authority (Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council and Northumberland County Council) into a single new North East Mayoral Combined Authority. Public consultation ends 12 January 2024 with a view to Mayoral elections taking place in May 2025 following parliamentary approval.
* Level 2 Deals
Lancashire (Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council) have started the public consultation phase for a Combined County Authority ending on 26 January 2024. The deal would not require a change to the established democratic structures across the county or the need for an elected mayor but would need to progress to a request to Government to be enshrined in Law.
Cornwall deal replaces a previous deal that was negotiated in late 2022, which Cornwall subsequently rejected due to public disquiet at the prospect of a directly elected mayor. Level 2 does not require this. Council have approved the deal proposals and I presume they are next going to public consultation. There is no evidence of this, or the next steps yet.