Following unanimous agreement at today’s Combined Authority meeting, the Tees Valley has now completed the necessary steps to take on new powers, funding and responsibilities. This follows in-principle agreement by each of the five Councils last month. The people of the Tees Valley will now have their say on the Tees Valley’s future priorities, through the election of a Mayor.
Originally agreed as part of the Tees Valley Devolution Deal, the Tees Valley (Functions and Amendment) Order will see wide-ranging powers devolved from Whitehall to Tees Valley. The powers will enable the area to take responsibility for decisions previously made in Whitehall and Westminster; including:
- new powers over transport, including influence over road, rail and bus services and infrastructure;
- control and funding for adult skills and employment training; and
- devolved responsibility for a long-term programme of investment.
The Order also establishes the governance arrangements for the Tees Valley Combined Authority, to ensure local leaders are directly accountable. The authority will be chaired by the Tees Valley’s directly-elected mayor, with elections taking place on May 4th.
Mayor David Budd, Chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said:
“The Tees Valley has ambitious plans to create jobs and grow the local economy. Devolution gives us the opportunity to deliver locally-led initiatives to transform our economy – far more effectively than decisions made behind desks in Whitehall, by people who don’t understand the needs of our local communities. The new Mayor will be subject to important checks and balances, with a new constitution built on the principles of collaboration, transparency and scrutiny. We will continue our dialogue with government to secure further commitments, and to become a flagship for successful devolution.”
Throughout the process, the Combined Authority maintained a clear position that the establishment of the Mayor should be accompanied by effective checks and balances, with the constituent authorities continuing to play a strong role in governance, and with transparent decision-making and effective scrutiny. The new legal arrangements enshrine collaborative decision-making, on the basis of proposals made by the Tees Valley’s Council Leaders, following public consultation. The Combined Authority will also establish a new Constitution and procedures for effective and transparent decision-making.
At the same meeting the Tees Valley Combined Authority board also discussed a number of important items. Setting up the South Tees Development Corporation to take forward the development of the former SSI site and wider South Tees area, for which a consultation is currently underway, was debated. Another item covered was the review of 16+ education and skills across Tees Valley, the conclusions to which were published last year, board members considered the role the Combined Authority will play in implementing changes to colleges in Tees Valley to ensure young people have access to high quality training.