West Midlands Combined Authority
|Founded||17 June 2016|
|Preceded by||West Midlands County Council|
Deputy Mayor of the West Midlands (Vice-Chair)
Laura Shoaf CBE
since 10 November 2021
|Seats||Mayor + 7 Council Leaders|
Supplementary vote (SV)
|Mayoral Election May 2017|
|16 Summer Lane|
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. It is a strategic authority with powers over transport, economic development and regeneration. The authority formally came into being on 17 June 2016.
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.
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.
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).
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, 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.
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.
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). 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). 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.
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.
A mental health commission was formed in order to create a reformed mental healthcare system in the county. The WMCA will not, however, have control over a devolved NHS budget as is the case in Greater Manchester.
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 and originally with The Beatfreeks Collective between September 2019 and May 2021. The YCA held membership of 33 16-25 year olds from all seven constituent members, upon establishment in September 2019. 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.
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.
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, for the publication of a Vision and Priorities document in February 2021.
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. The election was won by Andy Street of the Conservative Party, with 50.4% of the votes in the second round.
A directly elected mayor for the combined authority area was described as 'inevitable', 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. 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. 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.
As of December 2021, the Combined Authority's Portfolio Holders and membership of the Combined Authority's Board are as follows:
Colour key (for political parties): Conservative Labour
|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
|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|
|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||Chairman|
|Sarah Windrum||Coventry and Warwickshire LEP||Chairwoman|
|Tim Pile||Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP||Chairman|
|Observer organisations awaiting membership, observer members and co-opted members|
|Name||Nominating authority||Position within nominating authority|
|Mandy Thorn||The Marches LEP||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|