Landmark agreement on the road to devolution

Published Monday, 22nd June 2015
Breaking news

Leaders from the public and private sectors have taken a vital step on the road to devolution.

Today (22nd June) leaders from the public and private sector, represented by Sheffield City Region Combined Authority (SCRA) and Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), formalised their existing culture of collaboration to deliver economic growth through a new fit-for-purpose structure.

This vital step in the road to devolution sees the establishment of five new Executive Boards. The Boards will cover: skills, business growth, infrastructure, transport and housing.  

They are tasked with making key decisions on strategy and budget allocation. The Executive Boards are made up of key players in the public and private sector and have delegated authority from the SCRA and LEP.

Sir Stephen Houghton, Chair of the SCRA and Leader of Barnsley Council said: “The new governance arrangements are vital to efficiently progress the devolution agenda and successfully deliver our promises to Government that form the Growth Deal. 

"Political leaders have worked together across local boundaries for several years as it is mutually beneficial, this was formalised with the SCRA in 2014.

“The new arrangements mean we will take collaboration between local authorities, and public and private sector to a higher level.

“We have worked closely with our private sector colleagues in the LEP and value their contribution to economic success, and their leadership on key strategic programmes."

James Newman, Chairman of the LEP added: “Since the formation of the LEP in 2010, I have been astounded at the enthusiasm and time the private sector has given for the greater good and economic growth of SCR. Their leadership and intellectual contribution to economic strategy means political leaders are willing to share the decision making burden.

“This is a dynamic time for Sheffield City Region, we have achieved much in a short timescale, and we should be proud of what these new arrangements will mean.”

This landmark decision on the road to devolution is the culmination of a successful partnership between the public and private sectors which began when the LEP began in 2010, and further developed when the SCRA was created in 2014. 

The results of partnership working and increasing devolution from Central Government are yielding huge benefits to Sheffield City Region. Key achievements include the trailblazing City Deal in 2011, gaining £28 million Government funding. This enables the highly successful “Skills Made Easy” programme, and the SCR Investment Fund to accelerate essential infrastructure projects.  

The next achievement included the award of Enterprise Zone (EZ) status for strategic development sites in the City Region.  The SCR EZ has attracted 18 new companies, helping create over 800 new jobs and is rated one of the most successful in the UK.

In 2014, SCR was granted an historic £320 million Growth Deal from Government, the fifth largest in the UK.  The deal enables transformational projects to progress including the FARRRs link road to Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the Glass Academy, a business support service, and a “Skills Bank”. With oversight from the new Executive Boards, these programmes will deliver the growth required to boost the economy in both the City Region and the wider Northern Powerhouse.