DevoIntelligence is DevoConnect's regular bulletin designed to keep you up to date and well informed about everything that's happening in England's devolution evolution. Check out our past issues here.

A year of judgement?

The first wave of metro mayors, elected just over a year and a half ago, might be forgiven for thinking that they have had little time to make an impact. Well, if they haven't already, now they must.

2019 will see the start of the May 2020 re-election campaigns for the seven mayors already in office, and for those that made hefty manifesto pledges two years ago (i.e., all of them) they will want to be seen to deliver by their electorates.

Much the same, the leaders and officials within the combined authorities who fought tooth and nail for powers over planning, infrastructure, transport, health, employment and much else, need to show they are mature enough to use them before Whitehall will go any further.

Can they do it? This DevoIntelligence features comment from four DevoConnect associates on the months and years to come: Phil Hope, Former Minister of State for Care Services, who argues that health and social care integration cannot happen without devolution; Tracy Fishwick, People's Powerhouse, making a compelling case a collaborative, inclusive devolution embodied by the People's Powerhouse Charter; Martin Liptrot, 98Republic, on why Merseyside's two mayors are doing just fine and Dan Corry, NPC setting out why local government and the social sector need honesty to deliver on place making.

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Is devolution the way to deliver the new NHS Long Term Plan?
Phil Hope, Former Minister of State for Care Services

Arguably, the most eye-catching and radical element of the new NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) is the creation – for the first time since the NHS was set up in 1948 – of fully integrated community-based health care. This commitment is backed up with £4.5 billion to fund expanded community multidisciplinary teams.

But what needs to happen to ensure the vision of fully-integrated community-based health care that includes social care becomes a reality? A recent DevoConnect roundtable discussion suggested that the devolution of health is key to delivering true integration and the LTP says "We will continue to support local approaches to blending health and social care budgets where councils and CCGs agree this makes sense…." And adds: "The government will set out further proposals for social care and health integration in the forthcoming Green Paper on adult social care."

The reality is that the ambition of "creating genuinely integrated teams of GPs, community health and social care staff" requires more than just a willingness among people from different organisations to work together in new ways. That is essential but is not sufficient for sustainable and long-lasting change to happen. Integration and devolution are two sides of the same coin when it comes to health and social care. Full integration cannot happen without devolution and that is an opportunity now opened up by the NHS plan for the future.
A democratic North means more collaboration, listening and diversity
Tracy Fishwick, Manging Director Transform Lives and Organiser, People's Powerhouse

In 2019 the People’s Powerhouse movement will continue to make the case for faster and more devolution in the North of England. But devolution on its own is not enough. We need to ‘let the people in’ as GM Mayor Andy Burnham puts it and make sure the voices of people are heard. The people of the North and their lived experiences and local understanding need to help shape policy, delivery and change.

I head up a social enterprise called Transform Lives Company in Liverpool which supports people furthest from the job market into work. Every day we see the profound impact of policy on people’s lives. I’ve been working in Liverpool for 20 years but it was 2018 when we first discussed having an emergency food cupboard in our offices. That tells me our political processes are badly broken. And in my view it’s not down to just one devolved area, leader or institution to fix. The key is to be able to bring about people-focused change alongside local government, city regions, a whole plethora of institutions like universities, housing associations and businesses in all their forms. That’s what the People’s Powerhouse is setting out to achieve.

The People’s Powerhouse Charter has the support of all the leaders of the devolved regions. It is about more positive focus on partnerships, diverse thinking and diverse solutions.  Everyone in the North can sign the Charter and work harder on inclusion, diversity, listening, trust, collaboration and meaningful change. 2019 needs to be a year of not just more devolution, but more people being involved in the democratic process and having a say in the decisions that affect their lives.
Merseyside's tale of two Mayors
Martin Liptrot, Communications and Public Affairs Consultant,

2019 will be a crucial year for Liverpool City Region's devolution and economic growth aspirations – and it’s shaping to be a tale of the city region’s two mayors.

Late in 2018, Mayor #1, Joe Anderson – quit the Northern Powerhouse claiming it was a ‘puppet programme from a government unwilling to listen’. While some claimed it was just a characteristic outburst from a feisty mayor, most agreed the Northern Powerhouse promise had run out of steam since Theresa May and Jake Berry took over from David Cameron and George Osborne.

But Mayor Anderson’s claim Liverpool is better served ‘going it alone’ rather than relying on some ‘over-promising, under-delivering’ government agency may put him at odds with the approach of Mayor #2 Steve Rotheram who is more sympathetic to a pan-Northern solution.

Metro-Mayor Rotheram faces a tricky reselection battle later this year when the city region’s Labour Party members will be asked to choose their 2020 candidate, and while Mayor Rotheram is popular with many party members, there is still a high degree of scepticism about the benefits of a Metro Mayor in some of the 6 boroughs.

Reselection may be a headache for Mayor Anderson too, but it seems he has already weathered much of the storm following the firing and resignations of his former deputies, and while a challenge is likely, there is no-one with the gravitas and experience Mayor Anderson brings to the role.

Like everyone else troubled by Brexit, Liverpool businesses are looking for some stability, so changing Mayors - not once but twice - is probably an unnecessary distraction right now.
Can place-making solve local government's crisis?
Dan Corry, Chief Executive, New Philanthropy Capital

2018 was the year where people started to pay greater attention to the potential of genuine collaboration between the public and social sectors, at the level of a place.

With money running out, and Brexit acrimony everywhere, 2019 has to be the year that we get serious about what this all means, for both sectors. It’s time to go from warm words to getting into the detail of how we make ‘place’ happen.

Local public servants need to be honest with the social sector about their plans; if there is any real place for collaboration or if their new place initiative is just a branding exercise. They must recognise it won’t be as simple as charities picking up services local government can no longer fund. For their part the social sector needs to recognise that many areas of local government are in genuine crisis and that if it wants to play a new positive role it has to be stop the indulgence of enjoying just being a critic, outside the tent.     

None of this is easy. Metro mayors are perhaps the best placed of anyone to bring all the sides together and we have heard them making the right noises. With their terms of office running down, 2019 is the year to show they mean it.
Government review reveals 'devolution deadlock'
A government review into devolution has found that no new deals were reached from April 2016 to March 2017. Whilst some devolution deals were continued, such as a £300m housing fund in Greater Manchester and a £170m growth fund for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, not a single new deal was launched. In the period following this one, just one new deal - in the North of Tyne - was agreed successfully. Cllr Mark Hawthorne, who chairs the Local Government Association’s People and Places Board, said that the latest Autumn Budget devolution deal announcements were a "step in the right direction," but areas currently without deals must be not be left behind, in order to avoid "devolution deadlock."
South Yorkshire and Merseyside are hotspots for post-recession job boom
A think tank has found that South Yorkshire and Merseyside have been the UK regions with the strongest jobs growth since the 2008 financial crisis. A report by the Resolution Foundation found that South Yorkshire recorded a 6.5% rise in employment over the last decade. hilst Merseyside’s employment rate grew by 6.4%, the second biggest rise of any UK region, it still maintained an overall employment rate of 69.3%, one of the lowest in the country. Senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation Stephen Clarke said: "While the jobs surge has not been as dominated by London or low-paid work as some claim, new challenges have developed – particularly for younger workers and with a big rise in insecure work."
North of Tyne mayoral election: Labour's only female candiate drops out
Just two candidates are left in the race to be Labour’s candidate in the North of Tyne mayoral election, after the only female candidate dropped out. The initial selection process was reopened by the Labour Party after it returned all male candidates. In December, Cllr Karen Lee nominated herself for the candidacy, joining Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes and Momentum-backed Cllr Jamie Driscoll. This week, despite securing the necessary nominations, Lee dropped out of the race, saying she felt "Nick and Jamie were competing with each other as established candidates." The Liberal Democrats have announced their candidate, former councillor Dr John Appleby, and the Conservatives have yet to announce their candidate or even a shortlist.
Dorset councils consider combined authority
A group of nine councils in Dorset are considering forming a combined authority. The councils are already due to become two unitary authorities in April this year. According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, talks about a combined authority will only continue after this merger is complete. Cllr John Beesley, who leads Bournemouth Borough Council, said that he thought forming such an authority was "part and parcel" of reorganising the area’s councils, and said the proposals have been "left with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for the time being."
Mayors warn Prime Minister: no-deal Brexit is not an option
The Mayors of London, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region have jointly written a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, saying that "crashing out [of the EU] is not an option." The Labour Mayors’ letter warned the Prime Minister that leaving the European Union without a deal because "our economy simply isn’t prepared" for the loss of growth and jobs no-deal would bring. The letter, which was also signed by Newcastle Council leader and potential North of Tyne Mayor Nick Forbes, called for May’s Conservative government to "if necessary...stop the clock ticking rather than head towards a disastrous and self-inflicted no-deal Brexit."
Government proposes a North of England department
Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry has revealed that Whitehall is considering establishing a new department for the North of England. This would likely include a secretary of state to represent the North’s concerns to the Government. Speaking to the Sunday Times, Berry added that "localisation of taxation" and "varying income tax at a local level" were also being proposed. The minister said that "each Northern region should have its own bespoke devolution deal" following the results of the Brexit referendum, which he argued showed a Northern desire for greater regional sovereignty.
Sheffield LEP leader: current devo deal is 'short-sighted'
The outgoing chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has said the leaders of Sheffield City Region were guilty of "the worst of parochialism and short-sightedness" after failing to properly implement a devolution deal. The Sheffield City Region elected Dan Jarvis as Mayor in May last year but has still yet to agree a salary or powers for him with the central government. In a letter to South Yorkshire council leaders, Sir Nigel Knowles wrote that the region’s "devolution position reveals not the strength of our region but our ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory."
New Greater Manchester masterplan announced
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has announced a series of proposals to radically change the region’s frameworks for planning, housing and jobs. The new Spatial Framework - out for public consultation now - will see 50,000 new affordable homes built in Greater Manchester, with 30,000 of them social housing. In a national first, the Combined Authority will use the powers of Mayoral Development Corporations to regenerate a major town centre (Stockport). The plan will prioritise town centres and make the most of brownfield sites to avoid depleting the Green Belt. Mayor Andy Burnham said the city-region is "harnessing the full power of the most advanced [English] devolution deal."
Transport for the North board meeting: 7th February, Location TBC
The board will agree TfN’s Strategic Transport Plan (the economic case for other transport corridors) here. At the same time, the board will publish a long-term investment plan with detailed spending commitments. Find out more.

Great Northern Conference 2019: 26th February, Leeds
This conference will include keynote speeches from Ranvir Singh, a presenter on Good Morning Britain, and the former Chancellor George Osborne. Find out more.

New Statesman Northern Powerhouse conference: 27th February, Leeds
The New Statesman is hosting a day of speeches, panels, interviews and debates about the future of the Northern Powerhouse. Confirmed speakers include Jake Berry, minister for the Northern Powerhouse; Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; and Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region. Find out more.

Improving Transport Infrastructure across the North: 27th February, Manchester
Network Rail and Transport for the North will jointly lead an interactive strategy forum to explore the latest policy and funding updates and outline how transport can boost connectivity and economic growth. Find out more.

EvoNorth: 27th – 28th February, Manchester
This event will bring Northern leaders together to debate and collaborate on issues as varied as transport, skills, healthcare and inclusion. Find out more.

Northern Power Women awards: 18th March, Manchester
The fourth annual Northern Power Women awards will celebrate the region’s gender equality activists. Nominations for awards are open now. Find out more.
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