To consider the report of the Chief Executive which seeks the Executive Board’s consideration and consent to the Order required to establish a mayoral combined authority for West Yorkshire.
An initial covering report is provided to the Board which presents an update regarding the next stage of the process to implement the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal, as agreed between the region and Government in March 2020.
The substantive report and appendices on such matters will follow at the earliest opportunity.
Further to Minute No. 31, 1st September 2020, the Chief Executive submitted an initial report supplemented with a substantive report and appendices which provided an update on the latest stage of the process to implement the West Yorkshire Devolution Deal as agreed between the region and Government in March 2020. Also, the reports provided details on the final stages of the process and sought the Board’s in principle consent to the draft Order, as submitted, which would establish a Mayoral Combined Authority for West Yorkshire together with other associated changes. The reports also noted that the four other West Yorkshire Councils together with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) were also being asked to provide their respective consent through their own decision making processes.
As referenced above, prior to the meeting Board Members were in receipt of supplementary information to the submitted report in the form of a substantive covering report and appendices for their consideration as part of this item.
As part of the introduction to this item, the Chair outlined the next steps in the process, highlighting that should all constituent Councils and the Combined Authority consent to the draft Order, the Secretary of State was scheduled to lay the Order before Parliament in December 2020.
Board Members’ attention was drawn to the two areas where the draft Order differed from the ‘minded to’ devolution deal previously considered. Specifically this was regarding the Strategic Infrastructure Tariff and the Spatial Development Strategy, with it being highlighted that the Council had made additional representations to the Secretary of State in relation to the latter, following a resolution of full Council at its Special Meeting on 1st September 2020. Members discussed and noted that both of these had been removed from the draft Order, with specific reference being made to the ongoing national planning reforms that were underway through the Planning White Paper. The second area to change was in respect of Highways powers, specifically regarding the roads that constitute the Key Roads Network (KRN) and the greater flexibility that the draft Order afforded in terms of agreeing the KRN.
Also, the Chief Executive explained that the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments was currently considering the draft Order, and may make minor technical amendments, with the Board being assured that such amendments would not change the content or substance of the Order. However, it was noted that this was why the Board was being asked to provide in principle consent to the Order today and delegate final approval, as detailed within the submitted report.
In noting that a special meeting of full Council had been scheduled for 26th November 2020 to consider the resolutions made by Executive Board today, Members discussed the ordering of these special meetings, and how such matters were being considered by the other West Yorkshire Authorities.
The Board welcomed the initial gain share funding arrangements for the financial year 2020/21.
Members briefly considered the overall arrangements for devolution and the relationship between Government and the Mayoral Combined Authority moving forward. The Board also highlighted the ongoing dialogue which would continue regarding the broader principles of devolution, which were outside of the specific matters being considered by the Board today.
Responding to a Member’s comments and enquiries regarding the scrutiny arrangements which would be in place as part of the devolution deal in relation to the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Board was provided with further information, with it being noted that should the Home Office’s ongoing review into such matters recommend changes to current processes, then they would be applicable to the devolved arrangements moving forward.
(a) That the contents of the submitted initial report together with the substantive report and its appendices, be noted;
(b) That in principle consent to the draft Order, to establish a Mayoral Combined Authority and associated changes as set out in the ‘minded to’ devolution deal, as attached at Appendix 2 to the submitted report, be confirmed;
(c) That the necessary authority be delegated to the Managing Director of the Combined Authority, in consultation with the Leader and Chief Executive of each constituent Council and the Chair of the Combined Authority, to finalise and consent to the final draft of the Order, further to any technical issues which may arise;
(d) That the updated timetable, as set out in Appendix 1 to the submitted report, together with the next steps, which are subject to consent being given to the Order by the constituent Councils and the Combined Authority, be noted, with it also being noted that the Secretary of State will lay the Order in Parliament in December 2020;
(e) That it be noted that amendments to the Constitution which are necessary to reflect the inauguration of the Mayoral Combined Authority will be made in accordance with Article 15, as necessary and appropriate;
(f) That approval be given for all decisions taken by Executive Board from the submitted reports, as resolved above, be exempted from the Call In process on the grounds of urgency, for the reasons as set out in paragraph 4.5.2 of the submitted report.
(The Council’s Executive and Decision Making Procedure Rules state that a decision may be declared as being exempt from the Call In process by the decision taker if it is considered that the matter is urgent and any delay would seriously prejudice the Council’s, or the public’s interests. In line with this, the resolutions contained within this minute were exempted from the Call In process, as per resolution (f) above, and for the reasons as detailed within sections 4.5.2 of the submitted report)