Agenda item - Update on Greater Brighton Devolution Bid

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Agenda item

Update on Greater Brighton Devolution Bid

Report of the Chair, Greater Brighton Officer Programme Board (copy attached).

Decision:

1)            The Board is asked to approve the Proposition document, which is attached as Appendix 1.

 

2)            The Board is asked to permit the Officer Board to recommence negotiations with Government.

 

3)            The Board is asked to delegate authority to the Officer Board to ‘buy-in’ a variety of specialist support, to both continue to build the evidence base for the City Region’s Proposition and to progress priority pieces of work as outlined in section 3.12 of this report.  This will initially be funded from within the Board’s existing budget but further requests for funding may be made in the future if required.

Minutes:

25.1      The Board considered a report of the Chair, Greater Brighton Officer Programme Board that provided the Board with the revised Greater Brighton Devolution Proposition document developed in response to the Board’s instruction to progress the City Region’s devolution bid to secure a non-mayoral devolution deal.

 

25.2      Councillor Smith asked how much the offer was expected to amount to and the likely governance terms in relation to that.

 

25.3      Nick Hibberd stated that an offer and the governance terms were as yet unknown but it could be anticipated that stronger governance would be expected in relation to a larger offer. Nick Hibberd stated that the Board has an established record of delivery and partners had made clear in the City Deal agreement that they were open to discussing a combined authority agreement relative to return. Furthermore, many of the functions of a combined authority could be replicated under a joint committee arrangement.

 

25.4      Nick Juba stated that he had been impressed by the joint working of the Board. From conversations with government ministers, he understood there was limited appetite from central government for further devolution deals and in his view, the offer made should determine whether the Board focus on devolution or continue in their current, successful format.

 

25.5      Councillor Wall thanked officers for an informative report adding that he would be interested to hear the view of business partners. Councillor Wall stated that the Board continued to achieve a lot and whether it moved forward through a devolution deal or not, it must continue to work effectively and co-operatively. Councillor Wall added that the Board had to be loud and clear about what it wanted and be flexible when proposals came forward.

 

25.6      Geoff Raw stated that from his conversations with ministers, it was clear that the government focus had moved to key industrial sectors and how investment and growth could be linked to specific geographies. He added that government priorities did shift and it was important for the Board to focus on where the agenda was moving to.

 

25.7      Prof. Humphris noted that three of the twelve devolution deals had failed and asked whether any obvious distinction in what those who were successful were doing.

 

25.8      Nick Hibberd stated that those regions that had been successful in the devolution process had continued and maintained funding from government. The Greater Brighton City Deal had established an advantageous relationship and profile with government for other types of funding such as the recent award of One Public Estate (OPE) funding. Nick Hibberd added that the Board would continue to have the right discussions, raise the profile of the region and have a clear plan through its pipeline of projects.

 

25.9      John A. Peel noted that the Board’s focus on the digital catapult arising from clear, focussed planning had in turn put it at the forefront for trialling 5G mobile network technology.

 

25.10   RESOLVED-

 

1)            That the Board approve the Proposition document, attached as Appendix 1.

 

2)            That the Board agrees to permit the Officer Board to recommence negotiations with Government.

 

3)            That the Board delegates authority to the Officer Board to ‘buy-in’ a variety of specialist support, to both continue to build the evidence base for the City Region’s Proposition and to progress priority pieces of work as outlined in section 3.12 of this report.  This will initially be funded from within the Board’s existing budget but further requests for funding may be made in the future if required.

Supporting documents:

 


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