Latest update: 13 April, 2017
Since 2015, Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East and Warrington Councils, along with the Local Enterprise Partnership, have been working towards a devolution deal for the sub-region.
Devolution involves us reaching an agreement to transfer national powers and resources so that we can make decisions locally to support economic growth and the transformation of services.
Subject to the views of Councillors, the specific powers that we are looking to take on include those around housing, transport, business support, skills and public service transformation funding.
Those successfully securing devolution deals so far are largely city-regions including Liverpool, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. But together Cheshire and Warrington represent the highest performing economy outside of the South East and Government remains interested in reaching an agreement with us.
So what’s been happening?
It’s been well publicised that the deal was not in a position to proceed until agreement was reached on the most appropriate geography. This issue has now been addressed and, in late 2016, both Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester committed to a deal and on 13 February, Warrington Council’s Executive Board made a decision to pursue a Cheshire and Warrington deal.
We now plan to move to the next stage of the process, which involves further negotiation with Ministers and Civil Servants over the content of the deal followed by public consultation on the draft agreement. Any agreement would need the support of our Members.
In the event of a successful deal being negotiated all councils would continue to be independent bodies, responsible for their local services, and would not lose any of their powers.
Like with devolution deals elsewhere, it is likely that a ‘Combined Authority’ will need to be formed so that a legal entity is in place to manage and be accountable for the new powers.
This is not councils merging or a new super council and it’s not a return to the former Cheshire County Council; it’s a body that can manage the powers transferring from London to Cheshire and Warrington. It does not affect the services and decision-making abilities already sitting with local councils.
The Combined Authority would be represented by the leaders of the three councils and chaired by a directly elected Mayor. The Mayor will ultimately be accountable for the new powers transferring from central government and would not replace decisions currently made by local councils.
If all goes to plan, a lot of work will take place to further develop and secure the deal. This is likely to require further support from many council teams and we will look to update you on latest developments and involve you wherever we can.
A dedicated website for the Cheshire and Warrington deal is currently being built and further information will follow when it has been completed. For more detail on devolution: