West Midlands Combined Authority
West Midlands Combined Authority logo.svg
West Midlands UK locator map 2010.svg
West Midlands Authority within England
Type
Type
HousesUnicameral
Term limits
None
History
Founded17 June 2016
Preceded byWest Midlands County Council
Leadership
Andy Street CBE[1], Conservative
since 5 May 2017
Deputy Mayor of the West Midlands (Vice-Chair)
Bob Sleigh[2], Conservative
since 12 May 2017
Chief Executive
Laura Shoaf CBE[3]
since 10 November 2021
Structure
SeatsMayor + 7 Council Leaders
Political groups
  •   Labour (4)
  •   Conservative (4) - inc. Mayor
Elections
Direct election
Supplementary vote (SV)
Last election
Mayoral Election May 2017
Meeting place
Centro House 3.JPG
16 Summer Lane
Birmingham
Website
www.wmca.org.uk

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) is a combined authority for the West Midlands metropolitan county in the United Kingdom. It was established by statutory instrument under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009.[4] It is a strategic authority with powers over transport, economic development and regeneration. The authority formally came into being on 17 June 2016.[5]

As of late 2021 it was reported that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities planned to permit "non-constituent" members to join the authority as full members, expanding the authority across the West Midlands region.[6]

Structure

The authority consists of seven indirectly elected constituent members, each a directly elected councillor from one of the seven West Midlands county local authorities, as well as the Mayor of the West Midlands, who is directly elected by the county's residents.[7]

There are currently thirteen non-constituent members, made up of three Local Enterprise Partnerships, as well as ten local authorities from outside the West Midlands county. There are also four 'observer organisations' (organisations awaiting non-constituent membership and non-voting observers).[8]

History

The abolition of the West Midlands County Council in 1986 left the county without a single authority covering the whole area, although some council functions continued to be provided jointly, through the West Midlands Joint Committee, the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, West Midlands Police (initially under the oversight of the West Midlands Police Authority and currently overseen by the directly elected West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner) and West Midlands Fire Service.

The authority has previously (incorrectly) been referred to as the Greater Birmingham Combined Authority, or simply Greater Birmingham,[9][10][11] as the final model and membership was worked out and negotiated. Greater Birmingham is a term present in the current Local Enterprise Partnership which serves Birmingham, Solihull and some additional local council areas within the West Midlands.[12]

Organisation

The authority's initial priorities will involve co-ordinating the city-region to act as one place on certain issues, such as international promotion and investment; reforming public services such as mental health services; and improving internal and external transport links.[13]

Transport for West Midlands

Main article: Transport for West Midlands

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) is an executive body of the WMCA that oversees transportation (road, rail, bus and Metro) within the metropolitan county. The organisation carries over the previous responsibilities of Centro (the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive).[14] TfWM has a similar level of responsibility to Transport for London - although its responsibility with highways is limited to a defined set of major routes (the West Midlands Key Route Network).[15] TfWM's policies and strategy are set by the WMCA's transport delivery committee.

Transport for West Midlands operates the West Midlands Metro tram system, and is currently expanding the system from Birmingham City centre to Birmingham Airport, and to the west to Brierley Hill via the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. Metro extensions are planned and constructed through the Midland Metro Alliance, of which TfWM is a member.

TfWM is also looking at improvements to the M5 and M6 motorways, and new cycles routes as part of a metropolitan cycle network. There are also plans to work with central government over the future of the underused M6 Toll.[16]

Housing and planning

While local planning will remain in the hands of the seven boroughs, the WMCA will be able to analyse county-wide brownfield sites and decide where new homes should be built.

Health

A mental health commission was formed in order to create a reformed mental healthcare system in the county.[17] The WMCA will not, however, have control over a devolved NHS budget as is the case in Greater Manchester.

Youth Engagement

The WMCA co-runs the West Midlands Young Combined Authority with Birmingham-based organisation Aspire4U CIC, via it's specific project named LyfeProof since June 2021[18] and originally with The Beatfreeks Collective between September 2019 and May 2021.[19] The YCA held membership of 33 16-25 year olds from all seven constituent members, upon establishment in September 2019.[20] The YCA has a co-opted membership of the Combined Authority Board, with members issuing updates of Young Combined Authority work, at each WMCA Board meeting since January 2020.

At the close of the first session of the YCA in August 2020, the number of members had reduced to 16, and it was agreed that the YCA would adopt a bicameral approach to its operation, featuring a core YCA board, combined with a YCA community, who would comment on the work of the WMCA and YCA.[21]

The YCA board was reformed in September 2020, and between October 2020-November 2021 was co-chaired by Aisha Masood, a member from Birmingham, and Chris Burden, from Wolverhampton, who was elected Councillor for the Fallings Park ward, at the 2021 Wolverhampton City Council election.[21]

The body, which after further recuritment now has approx. 25 members and who is chaired in 2021-2022 by Kashmire Hawker of Wolverhampton and Lily Eaves of Coventry, functions as a scrutiny and campaign body, formed of two co-chairs, and co-leads who are dedicated to comment on the work of relevant WMCA portfolio leads. In November 2021, the YCA were awarded The Chair's Award, at the Royal Town Planning Institute's West Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence,[22] for the publication of a Vision and Priorities document in February 2021.[23]

Mayor of West Midlands

See also: Mayor of West Midlands and West Midlands mayoral election, 2017

In 2017, the West Midlands, like several other city regions, elected a 'metro mayor' with similar powers to the Mayor of London. The date of the first mayoral election was 4 May 2017.[24] The election was won by Andy Street of the Conservative Party, with 50.4% of the votes in the second round.[25]

A directly elected mayor for the combined authority area was described as 'inevitable',[26] as such a role has been stated as a conditional requirement for a more powerful devolution deal. The WMCA shadow board submitted proposals for a combined authority with and without a mayor leader, and decided which plan of action to take based on the devolution proposals from the government for each.[27] Powers sought for a regional metro mayor and the WMCA were first revealed in a leaked bid document first reported by Simon Gilbert, of the Coventry Telegraph.[28] Those powers included the ability of the mayor to levy extra business rates from companies in the region. Negotiations also included the desire to take away the ability of local councils to retain future business rates growth and to hand that cash to the WMCA, who would decide how it was spent across the region instead of by individual local authorities.

Membership

As of December 2021, the Combined Authority's Portfolio Holders and membership of the Combined Authority's Board are as follows:[29]

Colour key (for political parties):   Conservative   Labour

Portfolio Holders
Name of Member Nominating Authority Position within the WMCA
Andy Street CBE West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor of the West Midlands
Bob Sleigh West Midlands Combined Authority Deputy Mayor of the West Midlands and Portfolio Lead for Finance
Patrick Harley Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council Portfolio Lead for Culture and Digital
Ian Brookfield City of Wolverhampton Council Portfolio Lead for Economy and Innovation
Ian Courts Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council Portfolio Lead for Environment, Energy and High Speed 2
Mike Bird Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council Portfolio Lead for Housing and Land
Brigid Jones Birmingham City Council Portfolio Lead for Inclusive Communities
Kerrie Carmichael Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Portfolio Lead for Public Service Reform and Social Economy
George Duggins Coventry City Council Portfolio Lead for Skills and Productivity
Ian Ward Birmingham City Council Portfolio Lead for Transport
Izzi Seccombe Warwickshire County Council Portfolio Lead for Wellbeing

Colour key (for political parties):   Conservative   Labour   Independent / Non-political

Constituent membership
Names of Members Nominating Authority Position Within Nominating Authority
Andy Street CBE West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor of the West Midlands
Ian Ward and Brigid Jones Birmingham City Council Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
George Duggins and Abdul Khan Coventry City Council Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
Patrick Harley and David Vickers Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
Kerrie Carmichael and Maria Crompton Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
Ian Courts and Bob Sleigh Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council Leader of the Council and Deputy Mayor of the West Midlands
Mike Bird and Adrian Andrew Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
Ian Brookfield and Stephen Simpkins City of Wolverhampton Council Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
Non-constituent membership
Olivia Lyons Cannock Chase District Council Leader of the Council
David Wright North Warwickshire Borough Council Leader of the Council
Kristofer Wilson Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council Leader of the Council
Matt Dormer Redditch Borough Council Leader of the Council
Seb Lowe Rugby Borough Council Leader of the Council
Lezley Picton Shropshire Council Leader of the Council
Tony Jefferson Stratford-on-Avon District Council Leader of the Council
Jeremy Oates Tamworth Borough Council Leader of the Council
Shaun Davies Telford and Wrekin Council Leader of the Council
Izzi Seccombe Warwickshire County Council Leader of the Council
Local Enterprise Partnership
Tom Westley Black Country LEP[30] Chairman
Sarah Windrum Coventry and Warwickshire LEP[31] Chairwoman
Tim Pile Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP[32] Chairman
Observer organisations awaiting membership, observer members and co-opted members
Name Nominating authority Position within nominating authority
Mandy Thorn The Marches LEP[33] Chairwoman
Lee Barron Midlands Trade Union Congress Regional Secretary
Andrew Day Warwick District Council Leader of the Council
Greg Brackenridge West Midlands Fire & Rescue Authority Chairman
Simon Foster West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Elected PCC
X2 Members West Midlands Young Combined Authority YCA Board Representatives

See also

References

  1. ^ "Committee details". West Midlands Combined Authority. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Councillor Bob Sleigh". West Midlands Combined Authority. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Laura Shoaf due to be appointed chief executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority". West Midlands Combined Authority. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  4. ^ "SI/SR Template" (PDF). Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  5. ^ "Combined Authority". Solihull MBC. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  6. ^ "West Midlands Combined Authority could expand". 10 November 2021.
  7. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE WEST MIDLANDS COMBINED AUTHORITY" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  8. ^ "WMCA Interactive Chart". Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Business groups give backing to 'Greater Birmingham' combined authority". Birmingham Mail. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  10. ^ "West Midlands Combined Authority is such a dismal title – you would expect no less from a committee". Birmingham Mail. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Greater Birmingham councils bid for £8 billion devolution deal". Birmingham Mail. 5 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP". Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Launch Statement" (PDF). West Midlands Combined Authority. July 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Centro to be abolished as WMCA takes charge of transport « Chamberlain Files". thechamberlainfiles.com. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  15. ^ Transport, Transport for West Midlands: Transforming Public. "Transforming Public Transport". Transport for West Midlands. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  16. ^ "West Midlands Combined Authority - £4 billion of transport infrastructure over coming decade". westmidlandscombinedauthority.org.uk. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  17. ^ WMCA Devolution Agreement: Key Points. West Midlands Combined Authority.
  18. ^ "Announcement of New Partner for WM Young Combined Authority". Kashmire Hawker. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  19. ^ "WM Young Board". West Midlands Young Combined Authority. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  20. ^ "Young Combined Authority members meet for the first time". West Midlands Combined Authority. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  21. ^ a b WMCA Board - 13 November 2020. West Midlands CA. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  22. ^ "RTPI West Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence". Royal Town Planning Institute. 29 November 2021. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Young people launch a vision for the future of the region". West Midlands Combined Authority. 15 February 2021. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  24. ^ Gilbert, Simon (12 May 2016). "Date of election to choose Greater Birmingham mayor". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Mayor of the West Midlands". Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  26. ^ Elkes, Neil (16 June 2015). "Elected Mayor for West Midlands by 2019 according to council leaders group". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  27. ^ "Dale's Devo Diary: West Midlands hatches 'to be or not to be' Metro Mayor plan". Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  28. ^ "Revealed: Leaked document shows full details of West Midlands 'super council' bid". Simon Gilbert. Coventry Telegraph. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  29. ^ "Leadership" (PDF). wmca.org.uk. West Midlands Combined Authority. Retrieved 20 June 2021.
  30. ^ Covers Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
  31. ^ Covers Coventry, North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick.
  32. ^ "Tim Pile". Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  33. ^ Covers Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin.