Having negotiated and accepted the Devolution Agreement with government, the seven constituent councils and the Combined Authority have approved the creation of a mayoral combined authority. This includes the election of a mayor and the associated Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme. It is this Functions Scheme that is being consulted on.
The ‘Scheme’ is the legislation that says how the Mayor and the WMCA will make decisions, who will be responsible for what and how the Mayor will work with the WMCA board.
Findings from the consultation will be sent as part of the Mayoral WMCA Functions Scheme to inform the decision making of the Secretary of State (SoS) and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) before an Order could be laid before Parliament.
It will give the SoS an understanding of what the public think of the functions and responsibilities of a Mayoral WMCA and how the Scheme meets the SoS’s key tests of whether they promote efficient and effective governance and their impact on local community identity.
The consultation is available on the WMCA website, along with the supporting documents which provide all the background information to help people come to a view on how the WMCA and mayor will work together.
The consultation will also be available in hard copy upon request at libraries and some council public buildings across the region (see the relevant local authority website for more information).
Councillor Bob Sleigh, Chair of the WMCA and Leader of Solihull Council said:
“We have created the WMCA with the clear purpose of improving the prosperity of the region for its people and businesses. Government has recognised that we can work together effectively, which is why we have been able to negotiate a devolution agreement that brings an extra £36.5 million a year to the region over the next 30 years – resulting in an £8 billion investment package.
“A condition of this first Devolution Agreement was an elected mayor, which we have been able to accept because of the significance of the Agreement to the region’s economy.
“The idea of a mayor for the WMCA area is to provide a strong voice for the region. They would also be an ambassador for the area, selling it on the global stage. They would be the point of contact when the Government want to speak to ‘the West Midlands’ and be responsible for driving the Devolution Agreement within government and the region.
“The detail in the Functions Scheme should demonstrate that we have given much thought to how a Mayoral WMCA will work effectively to deliver the Devolution Agreement.
“I encourage residents, businesses, community groups and partners from across the region to complete the consultation and have their say.”