Devolution Bulletin - April 2023

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Devolution Bulletin

April 2023

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Welcome to April’s edition of the LGA’s Devolution Bulletin.  

Devolution continues to be moving at pace with the East Midlands Councils and the North East devolution deal progressing to their next stages of development. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has a new Chief Executive whilst the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has received praise for its development of a Housing First model rehousing the homeless. Cornwall is now progressing a Level 2 deal and Councillor Matthew Hicks writes about the Suffolk County DealMark Sandford for the House of Commons has produced an insight describing the new devolution deals for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. 

This month sees several new publications. In a paper produced by the Bennet Institute for Public Policy the government’s commitment to devolution is explored.  Taylor and Francis Online have produced a critique of ‘Levelling Up’ written by Nick Gray and Kate Broadhurst. The levelling up theme continues with the New Localism newsletter exploring Lessons from the US and a report by the Partnership for Young London looks at the relationship between the levelling up agenda and young Londoners.  

Collaborate have published A Guide to Collaboration setting out what collaboration is, why it matters and what it takes to make it work. The Centre for Open science has been looking at Place-Based Policies The Lancet has been looking at impact of mental health through a Community Wealth Building programme and the Civil Service World has discussion paper looking at the gap between history and policy. 

For those looking for new opportunities the LGA is seeking a new Advisor to join its Policy team. 


East Midlands councils agree to proceed with devolution  

County and city councils in the East Midlands have agreed to proceed with devolution plans  for the region worth at least £1.14 billion. The agreement could provide the region with an income stream of £38 million per year over a 30-year period.  

Backing for the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority  

The North East England Chamber of Commerce has written to the region’s seven local authorities to back the planned North East Mayoral Combined Authority (NEMCA) and call for it to have a strong business voice. The letter supports the consultation on the North East devolution deal and identifies several priorities for the mayoral authority if it gets the go-ahead. 

Suffolk County deal 

Councillor Matthew Hicks writes about the exciting future for Suffolk County Council and their devolution deal.   

Cornwall moves forwards with a Level 2 deal  

Cornwall Council are now developing plans to move forward with a Level 2 Devolution deal following the results of the consultation. 

New CEO for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority 

Experienced local Government Leader, Rob Bridge, is set to take the helm of as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  

Housing First 

An independent study has found that the Housing First programme launched by Steve Rotheram, the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, is saving taxpayers an average £34,500 a year for each person the programme helps out of homelessness.  

Devolution in England  

Last month’s Budget saw the announcement of two new devolution deals with Greater Manchester and West Midlands. Nick Kimber Director of Corporate Strategy and Policy at Camden Council questions Is it a deal? 

Views on Levelling Up 

Sophy Ridge interviews Andy Haldane (CEO of the Royal Society of Arts) on his views on Levelling Up on Sky News (51 minutes).


Commitments to devolution 

In a review of the UK constitution by Michael Kenny and Jack Newman, and produced by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy Devolving English Government calls for commitments to English devolution by 2030, a new Office for England and a council of metro mayors to help overcome challenges posed by England’s governance.  

What is Levelling Up? 

Nick Gray and Kate Broadhurst have produced an early assessment of the concept of ‘Levelling Up’. Their paper published by Taylor and Francis Online summarizes and critically reviews Levelling Up, arguing that the concept offers a mix of marginal and familiar policies, alongside aspirations for industrial policy and research and development.  

Levelling Up London 

The Partnership for Young London has published a report on Levelling up London: Improving London to meet the aspirations, needs, and rights of young people, looking at the relationship between the levelling up agenda and young Londoners.  

Can the UK Level Up?  

As the Levelling Up agenda proceeds, the US experience with industrial policy may provide some helpful guidance, for good and for bad. ‘The New Localism’ has produced a newsletter by Bruce Katz, Max Nathanson, and Chelsea Gaylord that explores the Early Signals and Key Lessons from the US.  

A Guide to Collaboration  

Collaborate has published A Guide to Collaboration. Distilling years of learning through supporting collaborations of all kinds into a few handy, accessible pages. This guide sets out what collaboration is, why it matters and what it takes to make it work. 

Place Based Policies 

The Centre for Open Science working with authors Valentin Lang, Nils Redeker and Daniel Bischof has produced a paper looking at Place-Based Policies and Inequality Within Regions. Drawing on household data from 2.4 million survey respondents in the European Union (EU), they show that income inequality within European regions is substantial, has widened since the 1990s and contributes more to overall inequality than cross-regional inequality.  

Time travel in Whitehall  

Matthew Flinders and Phillip Murphy explore the gap between history and policy with relevance to contemporary debates in this in depth discussion in Civil Service World.  

Wide Differences in Health 

The Lancet has produced a paper on the mental health and wellbeing impact of a Community Wealth Building programme in England. The paper compared trends in mental health outcomes in Preston, following a modification of procurement policies to support the development of local supply chains, improve employment conditions, and increase socially productive use of wealth and assets.  

Experimental UK subnational estimates 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has produced a new dataset that provides details on Foreign direct investment. The data set summarises how the UK have used commercial information to enhance the UK’s foreign direct investment (FDI) populations and stratification methods, with further information on the composition of microdata behind these estimates. 

In Parliament

Trailblazer deals  

This Insight by Mark Sandford describes the new devolution deals for Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, including changes to local funding, powers and accountability.  


The New Statesman’s annual Regional Development Conference 

11 May 2023 - Hilton Metropole Birmingham 
A day of fascinating insights and discussions centred around the most pressing questions for the future of the levelling-up strategy and local growth.   
Book your conference place

Unlocking Local Economic Potential  

25 May 2023, 12:00 - 1:00pm - online 
Join CLES (the National Organisation for Local Economies) for a special online event exploring the role that ICSs can play in unlocking local economic potential and how they can reach beyond the NHS to work alongside local authorities and other partners. 
The event is free of charge and there will be opportunities to put questions to the speakers. Register your interest at ICSs: unlocking local economic potential. 

Sharing ideas

Job opportunity 

The LGA is seeking an enthusiastic individual to join the Policy team working on devolution, levelling up and local growth. Working on a wide-ranging and evolving remit this is a role where very few days are the same and where collaboration is often the key to achieving a successful outcome. 

Corporate Peer Challenge

Following on from Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Peer Challenge if you are interested in your Combined Authority undertaking a peer challenge for your own authority, please contact your regional principal adviser 

Contact the LGA  

If you have any thoughts or ideas that you want to share with Jenni, the LGA’s Policy Lead on Devolution Support, regarding this Bulletin or the types of support that the LGA offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email 

The LGA is always looking for opportunities for authorities who are already devolved, have a deal in place or are starting on that devolution journey to show  case their work – especially where this activity will help inform others who may be experiencing similar issues. 

Please pass this bulletin on to any individuals or teams who you may think would benefit from it and if you are not already on our mailing list but would like to join, please go to and register your interest.  

 For wider LGA support, please contact your regional principal adviser.