Understanding Combined Authorities and Regional Devolution

Understanding Combined Authorities

Across England, a new and expanding tier of local decision making is gaining new powers and responsibilities. There are now nine combined authorities in England, with powers ranging from transport and regeneration to adult skills and health. These combined authorities not only present a new political structure, but they provide an additional layer of local decision makers and leaders.


We offer unrivalled understanding of the complexities of regional devolution and insight into its affect on local policy and investment decision making.

With more combined authorities coming in 2024, there’s never been a better time to get to grips with the changing face of English devolution. Click on the map below to find out more about the existing combined authorities….

Existing Combined Authorities…

  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • Greater Manchester
  • Liverpool City Region
  • North of Tyne (to be placed by the North East Mayoral Combined Authority)
  • South Yorkshire
  • Tees Valley
  • West Midlands
  • West of England
  • West Yorkshire
North of Tyne Tees Valley North East Region Cumbria Liverpool City Region Greater Manchester Lancashire Hull and East Riding South Yorkshire North Yorkshire and York West Yorkshire West Midlands East Midlands Greater Lincolnshire Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Suffolk Norfolk Greater Essex Cornwall Devon, Plymouth and Torbay West of England Greater London Deeper ‘trailblazer’ deal agreed Mayoral devolution in operation Mayoral devolution deal agreed Candidate for next wave of deals North East to merge with North of Tyne Non-mayoral deal with limited powers

Tees Valley

Mayor
Ben Houchen (Conservative)
Cabinet
Leaders of Darlington, Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees Councils and the elected Mayor of Middlesborough
Powers and Functions
Devolved transport, economic development and regeneration (including the Teesside Freeport
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2024
Electorate
0.5 million
Website
www.teesvalley-ca.gov.uk

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Mayor
Dr Nik Johnson (Labour)
Cabinet
Leaders of the 7 member local authorities (Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Peterborough City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council and Chair of the Business Board)
Powers and Functions
Devolved economic growth, transport infrastructure, skills, housing, employment services and health integration
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2025
Electorate
627,000
Website
www.cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk

South Yorkshire

Mayor
Oliver Coppard (Labour)
Cabinet
Leaders of the 4 member local authorities (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield)
Powers and Functions
Devolved transport, strategic planning and skills
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2026
Electorate
1 million
Website
www.southyorkshire-ca.gov.uk

Liverpool City Region

Mayor
Steve Rotheram (Labour)
Cabinet
Leaders of the 6 member local authorities (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St. Helens, Sefton and Wirral)
Powers and Functions
Devolved transport, economic development and regeneration
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2024
Electorate
1.2 million
Website
www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk

West Yorkshire

Mayor
Tracy Brabin (Labour)
Cabinet
Leaders of the 5 member local authorities (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield), 3 further members from 3 different member councils to reflect the combined authority area’s political balance
Powers and Functions
Transport, adult education & skills, housing, economic development and policing
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2024
Electorate
1.7 million
Website
www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk

North East

Mayor
TBC
Cabinet
TBC though on representative from each of Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland Councils.
Powers and Functions
Devolved housing, regeneration, skills, strategic planning and transport
Electoral Cycle
First election May 2024 then every 4 years thereafter
Electorate
2.1 million

West of England

Mayor
Dan Norris (Labour)
Cabinet
Leaders of the 2 member district councils (Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire) and the Mayor of Bristol
Powers and Functions
Devolved transport, planning, economy and skills
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2024
Electorate
691,000
Website
www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk

North of Tyne

Mayor
Jamie Driscoll (Labour)
Cabinet
Leaders and Deputy Leaders of Newcastle and Northumberland, Mayor and Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside, Chair of the North East LEP and the Mayoral Ambassador for VCSE sector (non-voting).
Powers and Functions
Devolved skills, housing and regeneration
Electoral Cycle
No future elections due to abolition. Election to the new North East Combined Authority to take place in 2024.
Electorate
570,000
Website
www.northoftyne-ca.gov.uk

Greater Manchester

Mayor
Andy Burnham (Labour)
Cabinet
Leaders of the 10 member local authorities (Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan)
Powers and Functions
Devolved transport, infrastructure, adult skills, housing, business support, spatial planning and health
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2024
Electorate
2.1 million
Website
www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk

West Midlands

Mayor
Andy Street (Conservative)
Cabinet
Leaders of 8 local authorities (Brimingham, Coventry, Warwickshire, Walsall, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Solihill and Dudley)
Powers and Functions
Devolved transport, infrastructure, adult skills, housing, business support
Electoral Cycle
Every 4 years, next election May 2024
Electorate
2.8 million people across Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton
Website
www.wmca.org.uk

Download our Guide to Devolution.

Our teams across England have been working with many of the existing combined authorities since 2016 on behalf of a wide range of private and public sector clients.

Our experts, including senior political figures with direct experience of devolved bodies, are on hand to help your company thrive in the new world of devolution in England. From transport to housing and from education to energy devolved bodies are likely to be of ever increasing importance to your business. Get in touch to find out how we can support you to navigate the increasingly complex world of regional devolution…


Upcoming Events.

Nottingham Partners – East Midlands Mayoral Debate – 2nd February 2024

Insights
provided by

Kevin Whitmore

Kevin Whitmore

Director

Kevin specialises in local government public affairs and has a 15-year career navigating the political landscape across the north and midlands. 

He has been part of the devolution debate since 2016, partnering with Government on its Northern Powerhouse initiative and working with the private sector to understand and work with England’s first Combined Authority in Greater Manchester. 

Since then he has supported clients looking to work with elected Mayors in Liverpool, West Yorkshire, Tees Valley and the West Midlands to gain market access and secure inward investment across the residential, renewable energy, hydrogen, rail and logistics sectors. 

Adam Farrell

Adam Farrell

Director

Adam has a track record of delivering effective and engaging communication campaigns. He has over 10 years of experience working within political communications. He spent 5 years working in Parliament and almost a decade in local government, including as a District Councillor within the West Midlands Combined Authority area. 

He has worked with some of the UK’s biggest companies including Aldi, St. Modwen, Persimmon, Birmingham Airport and Midlands Connect. 

Adam leads our Midlands region, heading up teams operating out of our Birmingham and Nottingham offices.

Matthew Crisp

Matt Crisp

Director

Matthew has over 10 years of public affairs experience, having held in-house and agency roles. He has advised clients across the public, private and third sector on strategies and campaigns to promote regional priorities and assert influence on national decision makers.  

His agency experience includes leading delivery of public affairs and corporate communications support for South Tyneside Council, National Highways, Midlands Connect and Mayoral Governance for West Midlands Combined Authority.    

Former Communications Manager at Transport for the North, Matthew has experience spanning the organisation’s communications and stakeholder engagement activity from inception through to its establishment as England’s first statutory Sub-national Transport Body. 

Matthew leads Cavendish’s North team in Manchester.  

Sean Fielding

Associate Director

Sean has a wealth of experience of local government and regional devolution, having served as the Leader of Oldham Council and a member of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority from 2018-2021. 

Since joining Cavendish he has devised communications and stakeholder engagement strategies for a range of different clients including an international fast food restaurant chain, retirement living developer and a quarry operator. 

In 2023 he was elected to Bolton Council, another local authority in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority area, and serves as Chair of Licensing and a non-voting observer of Cabinet. 

Tristan Chatfield

Tristan Chafield

Associate Director

Tristan is a former cabinet member at Birmingham City Council having covered portfolios including finance, community relations, equalities, digital and HR. During this period he also served as a board member at Birmingham Airport and as a member of the West Midlands Combined Authority Investment Board.  

He has first hand experience of devolved bodies and takes a keen interest in the politics and economics of Birmingham and the wider Midlands.  At Cavendish he has led work for clients ranging from infrastructure to residential projects including several high profile city centre regeneration schemes. This work has included building and sustaining relationships with senior political stakeholders in the region such as mayors, Members of Parliament, council leaders and council cabinet members. 

Rebecca Langton

Rebecca Langton

Associate Director

Rebecca has over 10 years experience in local government, where she has been both a political advisor and an elected councillor. Rebecca served four years on the cabinet of Nottingham City Council, with responsibilities including Strategic Transport, Communities and Regeneration and Growth. 

Rebecca has also worked in the European Parliament and for the regional Labour Party. Rebecca has worked on communications campaigns across the private, public and voluntary sector, including working on accessible communications during the COVID-19 pandemic and on a range of campaigns to engage the public, decision makers and businesses.  Rebecca has a Master in Public Administration, with her focus on regional devolution and the levelling up agenda.

Michael Stanworth

Director

Michael joins Cavendish with a decade of experience in strategic communications, extensively across London and South East England. Michael is skilled in providing long-term strategic political advice through to ‘on the ground’ community contact, and delivering the full range of services for clients.

Michael continues to help clients navigate the changing face of local government which is increasingly about working with combined authorities and regional mayors. His experience extends to the Mayor of London and City Hall through to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, He also has worked in the East Midlands and has links to the new West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

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