A new authority has launched on 1 February 2024, unlocking millions of pounds of investment for York and North Yorkshire.
Formation of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority will see more than £540 million coming to the region, with further funding for housing, transport, skills and net zero schemes moving from central government to be controlled and invested locally.
The first working day of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority was marked with a launch event at York Guildhall. The launch included exhibitions from businesses, community groups and academic institutions, showcasing the innovation and partnership working which exists in the region. Leaders from City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council highlighted the combined strengths of the city region and rural powerhouse and the opportunities ahead for greater devolution in the north by working with other Mayors and Combined Authorities.
North Yorkshire Council’s leader, Cllr Carl Les, said:
We have waited a long time to bring the benefits of devolution to hundreds of thousands of people in York and North Yorkshire.
These benefits will make a real difference to people’s lives, whether that is creating more affordable housing, improving skills and training, creating better career opportunities and promoting the green sector to protect the environment.
The launch of the Combined Authority is a major moment in realising what devolution actually means for the residents and businesses of North Yorkshire. It will allow us to have more decisions made locally and also the responsibility for hundreds of millions of pounds in extra funding from the Government.
We now have a powerful organisation to achieve this, and as a council we are looking forward to working closely with colleagues at the Combined Authority and City of York Council, as well as the new mayor when they are elected in May.
Cllr Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council, said:
It was fantastic to join local stakeholders to mark the first day of the Combined Authority and the start of a new era for our region. I want to thank everyone across York and North Yorkshire who has been involved in making this happen.
One of York’s Council Plan priorities is to make the most of devolution and we are looking forward to getting on with the job in the coming weeks, months and years by working closely with our North Yorkshire partners and the new Mayor.
While we are all rightly proud of where we live, our region does face challenges, especially around housing, transport and the cost of living crisis. Making devolution a success means delivering for our residents and businesses by investing in sustainable and affordable housing, tackling the climate emergency, transforming transport and boosting our economy for the benefit of everyone.
Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young, said:
Today’s launch event is an important milestone in delivering our devolution deal and unlocking more than half a billion pounds of committed long-term funding for the area over the next 30 years.
Implementing this devolution deal and establishing the new Combined Authority means powers and funding will be transferred from London to God’s own county of York and North Yorkshire. More decisions will now be taken locally with investments made to address key local priorities and drive delivery of key projects.
Devolution continues to be a key priority for this government, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Combined Authority, councils and the new Mayor in due course as the region begins this new exciting chapter.
What is a Combined Authority?
A Combined Authority is where a group of councils work together across a larger area. The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority has been created by the City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council.
The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority is a legally recognised, single body. Our role is to use some of the money and powers, that up to now have been held by central government, and work with local leaders and communities to invest in ways that will help to make York and North Yorkshire a better place for you to live, work and do business.
Who is in charge and how are decisions made?
The Combined Authority will be led by an elected Mayor (with elections taking place on 2 May). The York and North Yorkshire Mayor will chair the Combined Authority Board. The Mayor will be joined on the board by:
- two councillors from City of York Council
- two councillors from North Yorkshire Council
- the Chair of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Business Committee – this is an advisory role and the Business Committee Chair is not a voting member of the Combined Authority
The Combined Authority Board is supported by the Executive team of officers. The Executive team’s role is to:
- provide economic analysis and insights to support decision making and prioritising of Combined Authority activity
- work in partnership to generate ideas for the future investments that the Combined Authority might want to consider and bid for future investment
- deliver the programme of investment of the Mayor and the Combined Authority
- successfully operate in accordance with the transparency and compliance framework for local government
What difference will it make?
The York and North Yorkshire Mayor will lead investment of £540 million to be spent over the next 30 years. This is just the start. The Mayor will work with local leaders to bring more money into our region to invest in the things that matter to us.
Our Mayor will be a strong voice and a champion for York and North Yorkshire businesses and communities. They’ll provide key leadership in public safety, taking on the role and functions of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Big decisions about our region will be taken by our Mayor and local leaders, as powers and funding is devolved from Westminster. This is an opportunity for more control over our region and how our economy can grow in the right ways to create new jobs and opportunities for local people – this is about more power and resources in the hands of local leaders.
From day one of the Combined Authority, on 1 February, work is underway to support projects. This includes supporting investment already allocated: £12.7 million to deliver 700 new homes on brownfield sites and a further £10 million to support transition to net zero, unlocking economic opportunity, empowering business growth and creating new and better paid jobs.
Who is in charge prior to the mayoral elections on 2 May?
Meetings of the Combined Authority Board prior to the Mayor being in post are chaired by councillors from City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council.
Staff working for the Combined Authority will report to James Farrar, York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Interim Head of Paid Service.
When will the new Mayor take office?
Tuesday 7 May 2024.
Where will the new Mayor’s office be located?
From 1 February, staff working for the Combined Authority will use offices in York (West Offices, Station Rise) and Northallerton (County Hall). The Mayor is set to work from both offices.
What is the role of Mayor?
When they are elected in May 2024, the Combined Authority will be led by the York and North Yorkshire Mayor. The York and North Yorkshire Mayor chairs the Combined Authority.
The role of the Mayor is to work alongside local leaders to create a long-term vision, secure more money and be a strong voice and champion for the region.
The Mayor is not a serving councillor and will not replace the leaders of existing councils.
Once elected, the York and North Yorkshire Mayor will serve a 4 year term, at which point they can choose to stand for re-election. There is no limit on how many terms a mayor can serve.
What are the powers and responsibilities of the York and North Yorkshire Mayor?
The Mayor and Combined Authority will have certain powers and responsibilities, devolved to them by central government.
In summary, these include:
- responsibility for 30-year Mayoral Investment Fund and the powers to borrow against funds
- full devolution of the Adult Education Budget
- powers to improve the supply and quality of housing and secure the development of land or infrastructure
- powers and funds to improve transport through a consolidated, devolved, multi-year transport settlement
- responsibilities for community safety and the powers to appoint a Deputy Mayor to carry out many of the duties currently held by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
What budget will the Mayor have?
At the inaugural meeting of the Combined Authority on January 22, a Combined Authority budget was proposed and endorsed. The details of that paper are available HERE.
A Mayoral Investment Fund is worth £540 million over 30 years.
From launch to March 2025, the new Combined Authority will be in receipt of more than £56 million of funds to invest for the benefit of communities across the region. This includes £12.7 million for housing, to deliver more than 700 new homes on brownfield sites, and a further £10 million to support transition to net zero, unlocking economic opportunity, empowering business growth and creating new and better paid jobs. An adult education budget will also be devolved to York and North Yorkshire.
The Combined Authority will continue to deliver business services such as the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub, which has supported over 800 businesses already this year.
The budget of the Combined Authority was set at the organisation’s inaugural meeting on 22 January 2024.
Where will the Mayor’s funding come from?
Funding will be devolved from central government to the region. In addition, from May, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s functions will join the Combined Authority, which includes funding from the existing precept within council tax.
How many staff are there at the Combined Authority?
Initially, the Combined Authority will have 54 staff and will employ a number of supporting services. This includes staff integrating from the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Roles will include the delivery of over £56 million of transformational programmes, attracting additional investment and supporting businesses.
Once in post, the Mayor will be able to appoint staff and funding includes an estimated allowance for the Mayor and their office. They will have their final allowances, including staffing costs, determined by the Combined Authority with advice from an independent panel.
Following the mayoral elections, functions currently held by the Office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will also transfer into the Combined Authority.
How does the introduction of the Combined Authority affect local councils?
City of York and North Yorkshire councils will continue as they are, working at a local level to deliver vital services for residents. The Combined Authority will deliver at a sub-regional scale, working in partnership with the two unitary authorities to deliver the devolved investment.
Where can I found out more about the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority?
From 1 February, the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority website will be live at: yorknorthyorks-ca.gov.uk
This site will also have details about Combined Authority public meetings, links to sign-up for newsletters, and governance information.
From 1 February, you can also follow the Combined Authority on LinkedIn, X and Facebook.
Devolution timeline – key moments
To get to this point, a process of devolution has taken place. Below is a timeline of key events:
- 1 August 2022. A proposed devolution deal, negotiated between the City of York and North Yorkshire councils, the Government, and local authorities, is announced for York and North Yorkshire.
- February 2023. Results of regionwide public consultation, which showed support for plans, and the scheme for devolution were submitted to the Secretary of State following decisions by City of York and North Yorkshire councils.
- 20 December 2023. York and North Yorkshire’s devolution order comes into force, having been through Parliament. This allows powers to move from Westminster to the region.
- 22 January 2024. First meeting of York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.
- 1 February 2024. Launch of York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority.
- 2 May 2024. An election to appoint a Mayor for York and North Yorkshire.
Inaugural Mayoral Election for York and North Yorkshire
Publication of Notice of Election
Tuesday 26 March
Publication of statement of persons nominated
Not later than 4pm on Monday 8 April
Deadline for receiving applications for registration
Midnight on Tuesday 16 April
Deadline for receiving new postal vote and proxy postal applications, and for changes to existing postal or proxy votes
5pm on Wednesday 17 April
Deadline for receiving applications for Voter Authority Certificates
5pm on Wednesday 24 April
Deadline for receiving new applications to vote by proxy (not proxy postal or emergency proxy)
5pm on Wednesday 24 April
First time that electors can apply for an emergency proxy
After 5pm on Wednesday 24 April
Publication of notice of poll
Not later than Wednesday 24 April
POLLING DAY (hours of poll 7am – 10pm)
Thursday 2 May
When will the mayoral election be held, and who are the candidates?
Thursday 2 May Polling Day
Friday 3 May Count day
The deadline for candidate nominations is 5 April 2024. The statement of persons nominated (candidates) will be published not later than 4pm on Monday 8 April 2024.
Who will be administrating the election?
The constituent councils are North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council.
Where will the counts take place?
Northallerton, Harrogate, Scarborough and York
Who will be eligible to vote?
Any local government elector within the City of York and North Yorkshire.
The counts will take place in Harrogate, Northallerton, Scarborough and York.
The result declaration will take place at Harrogate.
The count for the mayoral election will start on the morning of Friday 3 May.
The Combined Authority Returning Officer (CARO) is Richard Flinton, chief executive of North Yorkshire Council.