What is Tees Valley?
The Tees Valley describes the area covering Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees.
The five councils have been working in partnership for more than 20 years. People don’t generally describe themselves as being from “the Tees Valley”, and the individual identities of the separate towns and communities remain important. But the Tees Valley describes an area that works as a connected economic area. 90% of Tees Valley’s working population have jobs within the area, and 65,000 cross a council boundary to work. So communities across the Tees Valley depend on the success of the area as a whole.
Why is it Tees Valley not Teesside?
Teesside has an important heritage and identity, and this is not affected by the creation of the Tees Valley Combined Authority. The Tees Valley goes wider than the traditional definition of Teesside, to include parts of Cleveland, Darlington and Hartlepool, and it’s therefore right to use a title which covers the whole area.
Is this area County Durham / North Yorkshire, not Tees Valley?
County Durham and North Yorkshire have proud identities, which are not affected by the creation of the Tees Valley Combined Authority. The Tees Valley reflects the reality of economic connections, which create an area that includes parts of both historic counties. It is right that we plan growth on the basis of the economic geography of our area, reflecting the reality of the way that communities both sides of the Tees have developed their economies closely together.
What is the Tees Valley Combined Authority?
The Mayor chairs the Combined Authority, a new body set up by law to lead the economic development of the Tees Valley area. We are a partnership of five authorities, working with the business community and other partners.
By setting up this new body, the Tees Valley is able to deliver powers and responsibilities previously carried out by central Government. There are similar bodies in other areas of the country which have secured devolution, including Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands, all of which also elected a mayor on 4th May 2017.
What is Devolution?
England is one of the most centralised countries in the developed world. Devolution is a process that transfers powers and funding from central Government to a local area. It means decisions can be made closer to the people affected, involving them more directly.
What is the Tees Valley Devolution Deal?
The Tees Valley signed a devolution deal with Government in October 2015. Under the terms of the deal, the Tees Valley received more powers and funding. The Government only agreed to this if the Tees Valley elected a Mayor, to be publicly accountable for decisions.
Does this mean that the individual councils will merge?
No. Your local council will still be responsible for delivering local services such as children’s services, social care, refuse collection, libraries, street cleaning, etc. The Combined Authority is focused on economic growth of the wider Tees Valley area. Our new powers come from central Government, not from the local councils.
Why do we have a Tees Valley Mayor?
Local council leaders negotiated a devolution deal with ministers to transfer powers, funding and responsibilities from central Government to our local area. The Government said that this would only be possible if an elected mayor became publicly accountable for decisions, working alongside the existing councils and other partners.
Is this just another layer of bureaucracy?
No, this is a transfer of decision making from London to Tees Valley. It means that more decisions can be made locally to achieve a better outcome for local people, and to seize opportunities in our local economy.
What is the role for the private sector?
The private sector plays a key role in the Tees Valley Combined Authority. The Chair of Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, Paul Booth, sits on the board of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the other members of the Local Enterprise Partnership are associate members of the Combined Authority.
One of the key aims of the Combined Authority is driving economic growth and job creation, it is vital the private sector plays an active role.
Local Enterprise Partnership
What is the difference between the Local Enterprise Partnership and Tees Valley Combined Authority?
The Combined Authority and the LEP operate as one body, with one brand, a single Constitution, Assurance Framework and the same Annual General Meeting.
Tees Valley Combined Authority is a public sector body covering the five Local Authority areas in Tees Valley. It has responsibility for driving economic growth and increasing prosperity across the region. Much like a local council, the Combined Authority is held to account through democratically elected leaders. Decisions about budgets, strategies and services are made at meetings of Cabinet, which is comprised of the elected Mayor and Local Authority Leaders. Private sector members of the LEP are also associate members of Cabinet, but only the Mayor and Local Authority Leaders are able to vote and formally take decisions. Business representation organisations NEECC, CBI and FSB also attend Cabinet as associated members, and are able to contribute to discussions.
Councillors from across Tees Valley sit on Committees that scrutinise and audit the work of the Combined Authority.
LEPs were introduced by Government as forums that allow publically elected leaders to work with senior business figures to drive economic growth. All areas of England have a LEP, and in Tees Valley, this collaboration has grown over many years. The role of private sector members on Tees Valley Cabinet demonstrates the strength of the relationship in Tees Valley. Private sector Board members also play an active role in influencing the overall work of the Combined Authority, including identifying and shaping priorities, and informing investment decisions.
How do private sector members influence the work of the Combined Authority?
Public and private sector representatives meet regularly to discuss policy, strategy and budgetary issues. Business leaders provide invaluable advice, direction and insight which helps to shape decisions made by elected leaders at Cabinet.
Private sector members also sit on thematic groups in order to contribute to the strategic vision of the Combined Authority, and to help guide investment decisions. Private sector members of the LEP also act as ‘Sector Champions’ or ambassadors for the sector they represent. They also assess and report on the success of both the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, working with the British Business Bank and other Northern LEPs.
How are SMEs represented on the LEP?
SME’s are a vital part of the business community in Tees Valley – Over 99% of businesses are classified as an SME, with 80% employing fewer than 10 people. Smaller enterprises have very different needs to large organisations and often face different challenges so ensuring an effective voice for this diverse community has been an important task.
Six of the current LEP members operate SME businesses in the region, all from different sectors and geographies of the Tees Valley, and provide an important insight. In addition to this the business representation organisations (NEECC, CBI and FSB) are represented on the LEP as associated members, and are able to contribute to discussions.
The Combined Authority also engages with small businesses on a regular basis for a variety of purposes, both informally via and more formally through the Business Engagement Forum and SME Advisory Panel organised by the Tees Valley Mayor.
What is the Combined Authority’s commitment to increasing equality and diversity among its members?
The Combined Authority strives to ensure equality and diversity considerations are embedded into all of our decisions. The Cabinet has publicly committed agreed to appointing more women on the LEP with the aim of achieving 50% female representation by 2020. Although the Covid-19 outbreak delayed our recruitment process we remain committed to achieving this goal at the earliest opportunity.