Cities and Local Government devolution

June 1st, 2015 by James Goudie KC

The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill, which is having its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 8 June 2015, in relation to combined authorities in England under Part 6 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, will enable secondary legislation to provide for an elected mayor for a combined authority’s area who would exercise specified functions individually and chair the authority; provide for the possibility for the mayor additionally to undertake the functions of Police and Crime Commissioner for the combined authority area (in place of the Police and Crime Commissioner); where a mayor is to have Police and Crime Commissioner functions, cancel Police and Crime Commissioner elections that would otherwise have taken place and allow the current Police and Crime Commissioner’s term of office to be extended until the mayor is in place; remove the current statutory limitation on functions that can be conferred on a combined authority (currently economic development, regeneration, and transport); require combined authorities to establish overview and scrutiny committees; and provide for GPOC under the Localism Act 2011 to be extended to combined authorities.  The Bill also provides for the Secretary of State to make regulations making provisions about local authorities’ governance arrangements, their constitution and membership and structural and boundary arrangements.  For these purposes a local authority is a county council in England, a district council or a London Borough.  Governance arrangements mean the arrangements an authority operates for taking decisions – executive arrangements, the committee system, or prescribed arrangements as provided for under Part 1A of the Local Government Act 2000.  Such regulations are to be made only with the consent of the local authorities to which the regulations apply.

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