Tuesday, August 13, 2013

News: Government consultation on SCR Authority

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The Department for Communities and Local Government has begun a consultation asking for views on a proposal for the Government to establish an authority in the Sheffield city region (SCR) that would take governance from informal collaboration to joint decision-making on major issues.

The move follows the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), the Government's model to promote economic development. With input from the private sector, they provide the strategic leadership required to set out local economic priorities, and better reflect the natural economic geography of the areas they serve.

Earlier this year, the nine local authorities that comprise the SCR agreed to create this new legal body that would have responsibility for transport, economic development and regeneration, and replace the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority.

The SCR Authority brings together an integrated transport authority (ITA) and an economic prosperity board (EPB) in order to align political decision making around strategic economic development and transport. It does not take any powers from local authorities, and is intended to complement local authority decision making on these issues.

With stronger governance, the SCR Authority is also likely to have a remit covering city region economic strategies, investment funds, the enterprise zone and inward investment activity. With this approach the public, businesses and agencies only have to deal with one decision making body rather than many.

Brandon Lewis, the local government minister, said: "By encouraging joint working by local authorities across South Yorkshire and more widely, and having all local authority leaders in a room together at one time, decisions can be made quickly. This boosts economic growth and drives forward business success.

"Looking at strategic decision making in this way recognises that an area's economy, its roads and its rail don't stop at a local authority boundary."

If approved by the Government, the SCR Authority is expected to come into effect in April 2014.

SCR Authority consultation
SCR LEP website

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