The West of England is one of the UK’s most prosperous regions with an economy worth £31 billion a year, over 43,000 businesses and a population of over 1 million.
We want to make it even better.
Devolution of certain powers to the West of England was announced in the 2016 budget and the West of England Combined Authority Order 2017 came into force on 9 February 2017. The Combined Authority (WECA) is made up of three of the region’s local authorities – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Working with our partners including the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, North Somerset Council and other local service providers, its aim is to deliver economic growth for the region and address some of the key challenges - such as productivity and skills, housing and transport.
The WECA is chaired by Tim Bowles (Conservative), the Mayor of West of England, who was elected by the public on 4 May 2017. Representatives from the three local authorities make up the Authority. The Mayor and combined authority responsibilities are:
- A consolidated, devolved local transport budget, with a multi-year settlement.
- The ability to franchise bus services, subject to necessary legislation and local consultation, which will support the Combined Authority's delivery of smart and integrated ticketing.
- Responsibility for a new Key Route Network of local authority roads that will be managed and maintained by the Combined Authority
- Powers over strategic planning, including to adopt a statutory spatial development strategy which will act as the framework for managing planning across the West of England region.
- Control of a new additional £30 million a year funding allocation over 30 years, to be invested in the West of England Single Investment Fund, to boost growth.
- Responsibility for the 19+ Adult Education budget, which will be devolved from academic year 2018/19
WECA will also provide support to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board and to the Joint West of England Committee, which includes North Somerset Council.
The WECA will be driven by our senior leadership team, working in partnership with the LEP. Led by the Chief Executive, the team will be responsible for shaping the Combined Authority, galvanising internal stakeholders to ensure we become an effective, one-culture organisation.