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Gloucestershire’s Devolution Bid

Leadership Gloucestershire put forward a unique bid for a Devolution Deal.

The Bid was supported by the county council, the six district/borough councils, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Gloucestershire Constabulary, the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and the GFirst LEP. 

Gloucestershire’s vision is one of economic growth and public sector reform, supported by new governance arrangements to deliver it. This included:

  • Housing – accelerated delivery of 47,000 new homes by 2031
  • Skills – tailored to business need
  • Growth – create 34,000 jobs and 4.7 per cent uplift in GVA
  • Community Safety – reducing first time youth offending and re-offending
  • Health and Social Care – faster integration
  • Combined Authority – a unique body consisting of the seven council leaders, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the Chair of the CCG and the Chair of the LEP, all with full voting rights with a strong chair as a single point of contact for Government.

The bid team had two positive meetings with the then Secretary of State, Greg Clark. He encouraged us to stretch our housing numbers and show how the governance arrangements would work.

Locally, “Coxit” (the idea for Cotswold District Council to merge with West Oxfordshire) distracted us from February to May 2016. In the meantime, the government’s expectation for devolution deals had ratcheted up, with an expectation of elected Mayors.

Leadership Gloucestershire commissioned consultants to review our original submission, and rebuild support amongst the partners. They reported in September 2016 that we have an oven-ready devolution proposition supported by partners, but it will only work with combined authority governance.

Whilst waiting for the current government to decide if they will agree non-mayoral deals, we have been busy:

  • Housing – agreed a Joint Core Strategy for Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury. Agreed to work together on planning and infrastructure and are recruiting a shared Strategic Planning Commissioner.
  • Skills – set up a new Employment and Skills Board under the GFirst LEP.
  • Growth – continuing to deliver the Strategic Economic Plan, including Growth Hubs, Growth zones and Cyber which were part of the bid.
  • Community Safety – created a county-wide partnership to take forward the devolution proposals.
  • Health and Social Care – making good progress on the STP.
  • Leadership of Place – we’ve embarked on an ambitious conversation with the public about Gloucestershire’s long term priorities.

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