Heart of the South West Devolution - Newsletter 12

Heart of the South West

      18 August 2016


A lot has been going on over the last few months to move closer to a devolution deal.

  • Our partnership remains strong and we have made this clear to the new Government.
  • A major development has been the approval by all partners in-principle to setting up a Combined Authority.
  • We continue to work-up detailed negotiation positions for our asks and offers.
  • We are setting up an officer group to consider the implications of Brexit and in particular the opportunities that it presents.
  • Sessions are being set up across the Heart of the South West for elected Members to learn more about devolution and contribute to our proposals.

    Full set of partner approvals to move towards a Combined Authority

    All 17 local authorities, both National Parks, the Local Enterprise Partnership and all three Clinical Commissioning Groups have given their in-principle approval to set up a Combined Authority to support our devolution deal.

    Designing the Combined Authority is under way and will take into account the views of all partners. This will include a period of consultation later this year before making our proposals to the Secretary of State.

    We have produced a summary of what Combined Authorities are and what roles they may have.

    Brexit and our new Government

    There have been significant developments nationally in the last two months. The impact of the EU Referendum result remains to be fully understood however we are working hard to ensure that the Heart of the South West makes its voice and needs clear. We have also made contact with the new Government to outline our vision for devolution and show how strong and determined our partnership is.

    A ‘Brexit Resilience and Opportunities Group’ is being set up to consider the implications of our withdrawal from the EU, to identify the big issues and how we can make the most from them. It will support our devolution work but also wider thinking around our area.

    We have new Secretaries of State for business (including industrial strategy) and for communities and local government. We wait to see what their and the wider Government’s plans for devolution are, and continue to work on detailed proposals for a deal. We continue to engage with Members of Parliament and plan to begin in-depth discussions with them after the summer Parliamentary Recess.

    Member Development Sessions

    Local authority partners are setting up sessions for elected Members to come and learn more about the devolution process, what it can offer, and the plans that are being developed. They will begin in September and each council will inform its Members of their meeting date as it is set.

    These sessions will:

    • Help raise awareness of opportunities to work together across the area that could lead to devolution deals, attract funding or new powers.
    • Discuss what powers and funds could be accessed and what it will mean for elected Members, their constituents and authorities. 
    • Provide information about timescales, key milestones and more detail about proposals for a Combined Authority.
    • Give Members the opportunity to ask questions and develop a greater understanding of the combined plans.


      This is a complex project and therefore milestones are subject to change.

      Now - October

      • Phase one of Productivity Plan – workshops, research briefs agreed


      • Initial Productivity Plan visioning workshop
      • Governance review and emerging scheme
      • Feedback from Government on negotiation process

      End of September

      • Clarification from new Secretary of State on the Government’s devolution policy

      October - November

      • Councils consider outline Deal


      • Potential announcement in Autumn statement


      • Phase two of Productivity Plan – further visioning, development and detail

      November – January 2017

      • Combined Authority Scheme consultation

      February 2017

      • Combined Authority Scheme submitted to Secretary of State

      End – 2017

      • Potential establishment of Combined Authority.
      • Completion of Productivity Plan