SOUTH YORKSHIRE’S MAYOR ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES
Published 6 June 2023 at 2:00pm
South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard has outlined changes to how decisions are made at the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), to boost the organisation’s agility and strengthen openness and transparency.
The changes, agreed at the Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) Board meeting on June 5, follows a period of review into how the MCA works, given the significant change the organisation has been through since its inception in 2014.
Under the new governance model, the MCA will move to a cabinet-style leadership model in the Autumn, with the Mayor and Local Authority leaders adopting portfolio responsibilities.
Other changes include the creation of a Business Advisory Board and a Mayor’s Economic Advisory Council to maintain meaningful engagement with the private sector.
South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “This is an important step in a significant period in South Yorkshire’s story. Our region is turning a corner. We’re more ambitious, more confident and we’re writing a new chapter for South Yorkshire. We’re fighting for more powers and money; we’re taking back control of our public transport and we’re growing our economy in a way that everyone can see and feel that growth.
“South Yorkshire deserves a Combined Authority that can deliver on those ambitions, bringing together our local authorities, and putting local leaders at the forefront of developing our plans for the future.
“I’ve promised to restore the pride, the purpose and the prosperity of South Yorkshire, and do that, we need a Combined Authority able to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead of us.”
Under the new governance arrangements:
• The Mayor and four Local Authority leaders will take portfolio responsibilities for different policy areas.
• The Mayor and Leaders will form the MCA Board, responsible for decision-making on policy direction, objectives and priorities.
• The MCA board will meet formally every two months, with the ability to call further meetings should urgent decisions be needed.
• The existing Thematic Boards will cease to exist, increasing the role of the MCA board and with it, transparency around decision-making.
• The Business Advisory Board and the Mayor’s Economic Advisory Council will be created, following the dissolution of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
• The existing Audit, Standards and Risk Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Committee will remain.
Since its evolution into the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the organisation has taken on a much broader set of responsibilities including integrating with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.
The devolution deal approved in June 2020 gave the MCA partial powers across skills, transport, housing, planning and economic development, inline with other combined authorities.
The recent deals in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, with greater powers and control over resources, provide a direction for potential future opportunities South Yorkshire may wish to explore.
The Mayor is also seeking formal approval for the transfer of Police and Crime Commissioner next year.
The governance changes were developed following a Review into the MCA, which involved a period of engagement and consultation with the Mayor, the Local Authority leaders, Chief Executives and members of the Local Enterprise Partnership.
The changes to the LEP follow the announcement in March’s Budget that LEPs would be integrated into Local Authorities by March 2024.
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