A West of England devolution deal that will see more decisions being made locally, rather than nationally, on issues including transport, housing, adult education and skills has reached a significant milestone.
The parliamentary order which sets out the legal framework for the combined authority has now received final parliamentary approval. This means the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) – which will manage new powers, funding and responsibilities handed from central Government to the region – is now fully established. A first public meeting will take place on Wednesday 1 March at Watershed in Bristol, 1.30pm-3.30pm.
The WECA members are Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council.
On 1 March the group will be taking decisions to enable the WECA to begin functioning, including agreeing the new organisation’s constitution, the statutory officer posts and the nominations for scrutiny and audit committees.
Following the West of England Mayoral elections on 4 May 2017, the combined authority will then be chaired by the new West of England Mayor.
Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council, Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, said: “The WECA has been established to deliver a devolution deal which unlocks a billion pounds of funding for the area, helping us to further tackle priorities such as improving transport infrastructure, delivering affordable homes and investing in the skills training needed for the local economy.
“It is now our task to ensure we establish robust systems, including scrutiny and audit, that can help ensure the benefits of the deal can be used effectively within the region. We will also plan ahead to secure even greater opportunities offered by future devolution deals.”
As with all statutory authority meetings, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions. These must be submitted in writing before the deadline of 5pm on Thursday 23 February and any petitions or statements should be submitted by 12pm on Tuesday 28 February. All questions, petitions and statements should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full details of the meeting, including agenda, reports and venue information will be published online on the WECA’s website on Tuesday 21 February. Visit www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk and go to the Meetings page to view or download them. The meeting will also be webcast.