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Posted by: John Brace | 1st April 2014

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority choose Cllr Phil Davies as Chair

1 Mann Island, Liverpool where the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority met
1 Mann Island, Liverpool where the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority met for its first meeting

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority choose Cllr Phil Davies as Chair

                                

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority met for the first time in the Authority Room on the first floor of 1 Mann Island (pictured above).

The meeting started with appointment of the members of the Combined Authority. These nominations had been made by the Merseyside councils, Halton Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Organisation Appointment Substitute appointment
Halton Council Cllr Rob Polhill Cllr Mike Wharton
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council Cllr Ron Round Cllr Graham Morgan
Liverpool City Council Mayor Joe Anderson Deputy Mayor Roz Gladden
Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council Cllr Peter Dowd Cllr Ian Maher
Saint Helens Metropolitan Borough Council Cllr Barrie Grunewald Cllr Gareth Cross
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council Cllr Phil Davies Cllr Ann McLachlan
Liverpool City Region
Local Enterprise Partnership
Robert Hough Asif Hamid

These appointments were agreed. The meeting then had to decide who would be the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Authority. Cllr Phil Davies was nominated and proposed as Chair, there were no other nominations and he was elected as Chair.

He said, “Can I just say a few words? First of all thank you to my colleagues for nominating me to this position. It really is an honour and a privilege for me to chair the Combined Authority for the Liverpool City Region. I believe that we have huge potential to take this city region forward around the growth plan that we’ll be talking about a bit later on, how we get more powers, responsibilities and funding from central government and operating in an open and transparent way, the way we are this morning. I’m delighted to see so many members of the public here and I do sincerely believe that together we can be a formidable force in the job that we’ve got ahead of competing with other city regions, not just in the UK but elsewhere in Europe. So it’s an absolute delight and pleasure for me to do this role and I thank everybody for their support.”

Cllr Phil Davies invited nominations for Vice-Chair of the Combined Authority. Cllr Ron Round was nominated and seconded. There were no other nominations so Cllr Ron Round was elected as Vice-Chair.

No declarations of interest were made. Cllr Phil Davies invited Angela Sanderson (Monitoring Officer Designate) to present item 4 (establishment of the Combined Authority. She said, “Thank you Chair, on the agenda this is at pages three to 141 and you’ll be pleased to know I don’t intend to go through it page by page. The report outlines the two main documents which deal with how the Combined Authority will operate in practice and from today the Combined Authority is a legal entity in its own right, with its own duties, its own powers, its own responsibilities and in order to ensure that it can meet its duties and exercise its powers in a manner consistent with good governance it’s worked with the other authorities and developed its constitution.

This work has been carried out by legal and democratic services officers from the six local authorities and from Merseytravel. The constitution is included on the agenda from page 9 to page 105 is the outcome. It’s divided into eight parts and much of it will be familiar to members in the constitution of their own local authorities. We recognise the constitution has been developed quite quickly and that its utility can only be measured in the light of experience and it will be kept under review to ensure that it meets the needs of the Authority.

The operating agreement has also been developed by those officers and partners and it sets out the basis that the Authority will run and in particular because the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority no longer exists and the transport functions and policies have been transferred to the Combined Authority by order, the agreement deals with the establishment and membership of the Merseytravel board to deal with the Authority’s transport functions.

The Authority will be asked to review these arrangements on the 1st April 2015. It also sets out several protocols which have been developed by other officers and intend to cover how the Authority covers regeneration functions that the Authority will need to cover. The operating agreement has been approved by the six local authorities and subject to agreement by this Authority steps will be taken to execute the document by all parties.

Finally, the Authority is obliged to legislation to appoint certain officers and also to ensure as an organisation with no employees, it appoints sufficient other officers as officers of the Authority to also implement its decisions. The proposals in respect of this are set out in paragraph six of the report for Members’ consideration. The recommendations are set out in paragraph two of the report.”

Cllr Phil Davies thanked Angela and said that it was document setting out the powers and terms of reference of the Combined Authority and the various committees. He asked if there were any questions on the report? There were no questions, so Cllr Phil Davies moved the following recommendations in 2.1:

2.1 The Combined Authority is recommended to:

(a) Approve and adopt the Constitution of the Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral Combined Authority as set out in Appendix One;
(b) Approve and adopt the Operating Agreement for the Combined Authority as set out in Appendix Two;
(c) Establish the Merseytravel Committee as set out in Part 3 of the Constitution;
(d) Approve the appointment of Co-opted Members of the Merseytravel Committee on the basis of continuing with the former Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority appointments, with the addition of Cllr B Woolfall and Cllr J Stockton from Halton Council, until the Annual Meeting of the Combined Authority on 13 June 2014;
(e) Approve the continuation of the Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority Allowance scheme as a transitional arrangement; and
(f) Confirm the appointment of Officers of the Combined Authority as set out in
section 6.1 of the report.

The recommendations were agreed.

The meeting then considered the following notice of motion proposed by Cllr Barrie Grunewald and seconded by Cllr Rob Polhill.

“The Order to create the Combined Authority identified that the legal name of the organisation would be the Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral Combined Authority. This wordy title has been imposed nationally by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, showing his scant regard for the view of local areas.

All constituent Councils have consistently stated that the Combined Authority should be known as the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority: this was set out in the Review of Strategic Governance in September 2013 and in Councils’ responses to the Government’s consultation in January 2014.

In the debate to establish the Combined Authority in the House of Commons on 18 March 2014, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, under pressure from Knowsley MP George Howarth, stopped short of apologising for this imposition by stating that "The authorities can choose whatever name they want, work under that name, brand it and "logo" it." He went on to say "Under the powers that we have introduced, combined authorities can now choose the brand name that they want to use, whatever it may be, and use it strongly and effectively to represent themselves".

This is a clear u-turn by Government and presents an opportunity for the Combined Authority to be clear on its name from day one by using the existing Liverpool City Region brand.

Therefore, the Combined Authority resolves to:

(i) Adopt the name Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for public purposes; and

(ii) Write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to inform him of this decision.”

Cllr Grunewald said, “Thank you very much Chair. In September 2013 across six councils in the City Region and the Local Enterprise Partnership representing over 1.5 million people agreed to submit a document to the government proposing the establishment of the Combined Authority proposing that it be called the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. No other name was proposed and there was no disagreement between us, all agreed on Liverpool City Region was a attack brand.

Despite that, the government went out to statutory consultation on the proposals calling it Greater Merseyside Combined Authority. In January 2014 once again and in response to the statutory consultation the elected representatives of over 1.5 million people requested the name of the Combined Authority should be called the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. No other name was proposed by any other council, there’s no disagreement between us. Yet again, despite that the government have imposed an unworkable title of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral Combined Authority.

In doing so the Secretary of State has demonstrated his contempt for the people of the City Region and their elected representatives. The mantra of localism has never appeared more ludicrous. Six councils in the City Region have a track record of working together effectively. This has been demonstrated most recently by the speed with which this organisation has achieved Combined Authority status, something which others elsewhere thought couldn’t be done in the timescales that we worked to.

In working together we have always recognised the value of the attack brand Liverpool City Region. We’ve emphasised this time and time again. We’ve no intention of losing the instant recognition which this brand gives to us across the world but today is so much more about than a name, we need to deal with this now and move on to the vital work ahead.

The Combined Authority will be used as a vehicle to push forward the economic development and regeneration of the City Region and the City Region will have greater pace. There’s no ambiguity or disagreement about our intentions and our ambitions, nor is there any ambiguity or disagreement about our identity. We’re all part of the local City Region and we intend to stay in our own as such.”

Cllr Polhill, the councillor who seconded the motion said, “Thank you Chair, I agree with as set out what Councillor Grunewald has said. Just for the record when Halton Council passed it unanimously and when we had a consultation that was unanimous as well. Liverpool is a well-known brand both nationally but internationally and I’m not going to say otherwise so it’s a no brainer.”

Robert Hough confirmed that the local enterprise partnership had unanimously endorsed the choice of Liverpool City Region and supported the motion.

All seven members of the Combined Authority voted in favour of the motion.

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Responses

  1. “Operating in an open and transparent way…” Haha.

    Ever the joker, Cllr Davies knows how to inject a bit of cruel, callous, savage, heartless, thoroughly sick humour into proceedings just to keep things ticking along doesn’t he?

    • Oh I forgot to mention that the afternoon before the meeting was held, an officer (who made the decision) stated in respect of filming the meeting “that I am unable to accede to your request to film the proceedings on this occasion”.

  2. That has got to be the best April Fool gag ever. Its not,then God help us.
    doubt if it will have any effect on Tunnel Tolls.Just gives him a wider arena to be incompetent and mismanage things,that man would have difficulty running a bath!

  3. G’day John

    In his Liverpool Echo interview that I saw on Wirral Leaks he had the audacity to talk of “helping business to thrive and start up”.

    When will he reveal the Grant Thornton and DCLG Reports on Big, ISUS and Working Neighbourhoods?

    I would think his voters do not know about those dirty little secrets I had to enlighten the lady were I live who is “gagging” to be my local Labor person.

    I suggest his tenure will not last as long as he has had that Grant Thornton Report ferreted away and/or parked with the police.

    Ooroo

    James

    Ps Keep up the excellent work.


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