Devolution is when some powers of decision making and funding are transferred down to an area (York and North Yorkshire in our case) from Government so that decisions around how money is invested into the economy can be based on local intelligence and made by people who understand local needs best.  

For York and North Yorkshire, the proposed devolution deal requires a Mayor to be elected alongside the creation of a Mayoral Combined Authority.  

City of York and North Yorkshire councils have negotiated a proposed devolution deal between central government and local authorities for York and North Yorkshire. 

For York and North Yorkshire, Devolution would see a new mayoral combined authority and elected mayor for the region, which would receive devolved funding for transport, education and business support, alongside a Mayoral Investment Fund worth £540m (£18m per year over 30 years). The details of the deal are summarised below.

An elected mayor is a regional leader directly elected by the people. 

The deal requires York and North Yorkshire to elect a Mayor, alongside the creation of a Combined Authority, which would receive funding and powers from Government. The Mayor would have powers around transport, regeneration and economic development, and would also hold responsibility for the Office of the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner. 

Elected Mayor’s typically have a high profile, with strong links and influence within Westminster. 

An elected mayor has a different role to a civic mayor. A civic mayor is a ceremonial representative with no formal powers. Fellow members of a town, borough or city council traditionally choose them. The civic mayor is the first citizen of the borough and always has precedence unless royalty or the Lord Lieutenant is present.  

The Mayor is elected by residents of York and North Yorkshire so is directly accountable to the electorate at the ballot box. Beyond that, their activities will be scrutinised by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  

The deal also recognises that the Government intends to introduce a reformed accountability framework for all devolved institutions in England. This was outlined with the Levelling Up White Paper, which said that the framework would “ensure that there are clear roles and metrics for assessment and measures to support local areas, alongside strong local scrutiny mechanisms.” The framework is expected to be published by Government in late 2022.  

The Local Government Association describes a combined authority (CA) as ‘a legal body set up using national legislation that enables a group of two or more councils to collaborate and take collective decisions across council boundaries. While established by Parliament, CAs are locally owned and have to be initiated and supported by the councils involved.’ 

A Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) is a combined authority which also has an elected Mayor. For York and North Yorkshire, this organisation would be set up to work in partnership with local authorities to deliver the devolved investment, and would govern the wider functions of the mayor. 

City of York and North Yorkshire councils* will continue as they are, working at a local level to deliver vital services for residents.  

*Following the government consultation on local government reorganisation it was announced in July 2021 that the current county, district and borough councils in North Yorkshire would be replaced by a new single council in April 2023, with City of York Council remaining as it is. City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council will continue to work at a local level to deliver vital services to residents. The mayoral combined authority would deliver at a sub-regional scale, working in partnership with the two unitary authorities to deliver the devolved investment.

The proposed devolution timetable for York and North Yorkshire is as follows:

  • Proposed devolution agreement for York & North Yorkshire signed – 1st August 2022

  • City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council agreed to publish a draft scheme and consult upon the proposed governance arrangements – September to October 2022.

  • Formal public consultation process on the proposals – 21st October to 16th December 2022

  • Consultation results analysed – December 2022 to January 2023

  • City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council to decide whether to submit the scheme to Government with consultation outcome. – February/March 2023

  • A parliamentary order is laid to form a mayoral combined authority for York and North Yorkshire – Summer 2023

  • Establish the combined authority - estimated Autumn 2023

  • Mayoral elections – estimated May 2024

These timings are subject to change – please sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media for the latest picture.

The consultation is a chance for you to understand proposals of how the proposed devolution deal from government could be implemented in the region and have your say. 

We’ll be asking for your views about the details of the proposed scheme – the document that sets out how devolution would be implemented.

Following a review of the proposed deal by local councillors and a collective agreement to proceed, the consultation will take place between the 21st October and 16th December 2022. 

Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to find out how to take part. There will be a number of ways to get involved, give your feedback, ask questions and find out more:  

  • Public information sessions  

  • Fill in a survey online or return a paper copy  

  • Send us an email or write to us or 

  • Give your feedback in person.    

Details are available through the website www.ynydevolution.com

The Government and York and North Yorkshire are minded to agree a devolution deal which will provide the area with new powers and funding to increase opportunities and living standards through inclusive growth and productivity improvements. Read the full deal on the Government website here.

A devolution agreement is contingent upon York and North Yorkshire proceeding through the steps necessary to establish a mayoral combined authority and meeting the governance criteria required for a Level 3 devolution deal. This devolution agreement includes:

  • York & North Yorkshire establishing a combined authority and electing a directly elected mayor to provide overall vision and leadership, seek the best value for taxpayer’s money, be directly accountable to the city region’s electorate and to receive new powers on transport, housing and skills.

  • Control of a £18 million per year allocation of investment funding over 30 years [35% capital, 65% revenue], to be invested by York and North Yorkshire to drive growth and take forward its priorities over the longer term.

  • New powers to improve and better integrate local transport, including the ability to introduce bus franchising, control of appropriate local transport functions e.g. local transport plans, and control of a Key Route Network.

  • An integrated transport settlement starting in 2024/25 and an additional £800,000 to support the development of local transport plans.

  • New powers to better shape local skills provision to meet the needs of the local economy, including devolution of the core Adult Education Budget, as well as input into the new Local Skills Improvement Plans.

  • New powers to drive the regeneration of the area and to build more affordable homes including compulsory purchase powers and the ability to establish Mayoral Development Corporations.

  • Over £13 million for the building of new homes on brownfield land across 2023/24 and 2024/25, subject to sufficient eligible projects for funding being identified.

  • Investment of up to £2.65 million on projects that support York and North Yorkshire’s priority to deliver affordable, low carbon homes across the area, subject to final business cases.

  • Subject to a full business case, demonstrating the value of the scheme in delivering housing, jobs and GVA to the area, the government is minded to provide additional support to the York Central brownfield regeneration scheme.

  • £7 million investment to enable York and North Yorkshire to drive green economic growth towards their ambitions to be a carbon negative region. This investment is subject to agreement of submitted business case.

  • York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority will plan and deliver the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) from 2025/26 if there is a continuation of the Fund and the delivery geographies remain the same.

  • Integration of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Y&NY LEP) into York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority. This will ensure there continues to be a strong and independent local business voice which informs local decision making.

  • A commitment to explore a local partnership with Great British Railways so that the mayor can help shape and improve local rail.

  • Support to develop a Natural Capital Investment plan for York and North Yorkshire.

  • Commitments to work in partnership with the area on the development and delivery of strategies to realise the region’s cultural potential.

  • Engagement on broadband and mobile infrastructure rollout and on the development of the Scarborough Cyber Cluster.

  • A commitment to establish a programme working group in support of the BioYorkshire programme.

  • A key leadership role for the mayor in public safety, taking on the role and functions of the Police Fire & Crime Commissioner and having a clear role in local resilience and civil contingency planning, preparation and delivery.

The members of the MCA are elected to serve areas covering the whole of York and North Yorkshire. It is likely that additional elected members will sit on the sub committees of the MCA.  

Officers across all the councils have been involved in developing proposals, with a core team of officers from the councils and the LEP negotiating directly with civil servants. The “Asks”, submitted to Government in 2020, provided the starting point, with the negotiations taking into consideration the acceptability of those proposals to Government, available funding and the local need.  

Funding will be considered as part of an annual budget set by the Combined Authority. This will be voted upon by members of the Combined Authority.  

Specific projects and programmes will be assessed against an agreed project framework and assurance process, with the Combined Authority ultimately making decisions on which projects will get funding.  

Devolution brings an opportunity for local decision-making formed by a greater understanding of the issues facing rural communities. Tackling deeply ingrained problems blighting rural communities is a major priority for the proposed Devolution Deal. The Combined Mayoral Authority will invest in affordable housing as well as, new and better-paid jobs in rural areas. Under the deal, an annual investment fund of £18 million will be established to bolster the regional economy including, addressing further challenges identified by rural communities.  

Devolution has been a longstanding ambition for York and North Yorkshire, with the submission of devolution “Asks” to Government agreed by all councils several years ago. As devolution has progressed in other parts of Yorkshire (West and South Yorkshire already have devolution), we do not want York and North Yorkshire to be left behind. The Levelling Up white paper laid out three levels of devolution, and stated that Government wished to negotiate a Level 3 deal with York and North Yorkshire. Level 3 includes a Mayoral Investment Fund and a regionally elected Mayor. The process for consultation is defined in law and outlines that consultation on the governance arrangements follows the negotiation of a deal. This allows consultees to understand the value and content of the deal which is on offer if the relevant governance is put in place.  

In North Yorkshire eight councils currently provide local public services. From 1 April next year there will be just one and it will be called North Yorkshire Council. Having just one council will save money and join up services so that they make sense to local people and businesses. This alone will deliver savings of between £30 and £70 million each year. Money which will be used to protect the most important local services at a critical time when everyone and every organisation is feeling the pressures from increased costs.  

Making this change to local government was also necessary to make sure the county could qualify for the strongest possible devolution deal. Devolution is the transfer of certain powers and money from national government to a region. It means local people and businesses have a bigger say on their local priorities and how that money is spent. 

By replacing eight councils with just one, North Yorkshire was able to bid for a devolution deal which included a mayor. A mayor would lead a regional combined authority for both York and North Yorkshire. Together that’s more than 800,000 people.  

Mayoral led combined authorities have big decision-making and financial benefits. For York and North Yorkshire that would mean an additional £18 million a year of brand new money via a mayor’s investment fund.  

When you add together the new money from the mayoral investment fund for the region and the savings from having just one council in North Yorkshire it is a very significant increase in spending power for the area. 

Y&NY’s “Asks” for devolution were submitted to government in December 2020 on behalf of all local authorities. Following this, Government published the Levelling Up White Paper in February 2022, stating that they wished to enter negotiations with Y&NY on a mayoral devolution deal. The deal was negotiated by officers within City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council, on behalf of the sub-region. The deal was signed by the leaders of City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council in August 2022, signalling an in-principle agreement between the councils and the Secretary of State. 

Statutory process then required the councils to carry out a Governance Review, which considered the deal’s requirement for a Mayoral Combined Authority against alternative options to determine whether it would be likely to improve public services across the area and address the economic challenges faced by our region. This concluded that a Mayoral Combined Authority gave the greatest potential for improvement. A scheme was drafted that describes the governance arrangements for the Mayoral Combined Authority. The Governance Review and Scheme were approved by City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council in September and October 2022, providing agreement to proceed to Statutory Consultation on the scheme. 

Do you have any further questions that have not been answered above?