How much did the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agree to increase council tax in Wirral, Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton and Halton from the 1st April 2019?

How much did the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agree to increase council tax in Wirral, Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton and Halton from the 1st April 2019?

How much did the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agree to increase council tax in Wirral, Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton and Halton from the 1st April 2019?

                             

Mayor Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) 1st February 2019
Mayor Steve Rotheram (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) 1st February 2019

Last Friday afternoon, LCRCA (Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) Mayor Steve Rotheram (pictured above) proposed a budget for 2019-20 that included rises in council tax.
Continue reading “How much did the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agree to increase council tax in Wirral, Liverpool, St Helens, Knowsley, Sefton and Halton from the 1st April 2019?”

What are 6 powers the new Liverpool City Region Mayor will have?

What are 6 powers the new Liverpool City Region Mayor will have?

What are 6 powers the new Liverpool City Region Mayor will have?

                                    

Mayor Joe Anderson Chair at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017
Mayor Joe Anderson (Chair) at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017

As there is some interest in what a Metro Mayor (or Liverpool City Region Mayor) will do I thought, despite the fact that everyone registered to vote will have received a booklet (or should shortly receive one) I’d answer some questions.

There are however some errors in the booklet I’d like to point out here. The booklet also omits that the Mayor will end up being paid £77,500 a year (a decision made last Friday by Cllr Phil Davies, Mayor Joe Anderson and others).

In the booklet it states the City Region Mayor “will not be responsible for … setting Council Tax.”

(Another decision made on Friday was to hire a temporary Comms/Engagement person for 3-6 months).

First, I’d better describe the current arrangements. The executive arm of the Combined Authority (Merseytravel) levies each of the district councils (based on population) in addition to money it receives from other sources (such as Mersey Tunnel tolls).

The model on which the Combined Authority will work in future is based on the London model. As it states in this briefing note for MPs “Elected mayors will be able to raise a precept on constituent authorities’ council tax bills”.

I presume (if the Mayor decides to go down this route) it’ll be an extra line on everyone’s council tax bill like the lines for police (decided by the Police and Crime Commissioner and Police and Crime Panel) and fire (decided by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) at the moment.

So yes, the Combined Authority (although this will almost certainly go up next year) for example this year has a budget of £139.371 million of capital spending and £255.5 million of revenue. (Predictions are of a underspend in the revenue budget at year-end of £81.2 million (I feel obliged to point out that Labour councillors repeatedly state they’re not given enough money)).

The bit where there’s an answer to the question about whether the Liverpool City Region Mayor will made decisions over my local council/ the services they provide? is in my opinion also wrong. I’ve already written a detailed blog post about What are the new powers of the Metro Mayor to decide on planning applications?.

However, for a taste of one of the matters the new Mayor will be doing (chairing Liverpool City Region Combined Authority public meetings) you can watch my video below of the 15 minute meeting (there are about one of these a month).

So that’s 3-4 hours a year of work (probably more if the meetings are longer).

Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.

YouTube privacy policy

If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017

Unlike in London, where there are 25 elected London Assembly Members to scrutinise the Mayor this won’t happen in the Liverpool City Region.

There will still be a Scrutiny Committee, but it’ll be made up of councillors nominated by the district councils as before. At the moment there are 14 councillors on that Committee (12 Labour, 1 Lib Dem and 1 Green).

On the opposition front, out of the last three Scrutiny Committee meetings in public, the Lib Dem councillor has sent her apologies for two of them, the Conservative councillor (from Wirral) resigned years ago and no-one else was appointed instead and the sole Green councillor (Liverpool would normally under proportionality rules nominate all Labour councillors but Liverpool decided they wanted at least some opposition) has been to the last three meetings. He’s also the Green Party candidate in the election.

There will be some decisions made solely* by the newly elected Mayor which I will summarise below:

a) matters devolved from the Homes and Communities Agency around land and infrastructure such as housing, regeneration, infrastructure, powers about burial grounds and consecrated land, powers in relation to statutory undertakers,

b) deciding on grants to the local councils in the LCR region,

c) reviewing the local transport plan (at least every five years),

d*) planning applications (of “potential strategic importance”)

*interestingly decisions on these planning applications will also require the consent of the member of the Combined Authority for the area the application for planning permission was made,

e) matters relating to the spatial development strategy and

f) matters to do with Mayoral development areas.

Originally I know the plan had been was for the Combined Authority to combine Merseyside-wide authorities such as the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority to give two examples (similar to old Merseyside County Council).

Even when just talked about, these sorts of proposed changes caused so much resistance from certain existing Labour councillors (who angrily and vocally were against any such changes) that as far as I can tell such plans at the present time were dropped by the negotiating team and the government.

Polling day for over a million people in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority area (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral) is on 4th May 2017 (although postal voters may receive their ballot paper before this date).

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.

Why did I blow the whistle to Merseytravel?

Why did I blow the whistle to Merseytravel?

                                                            

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee 26th January 2016
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee 26th January 2016

Below is an email I’ve just written about what happened today. I look forward to reading your comments on it. If I had faith in the whistleblowing procedures at Merseytravel I would not see the need to publish it, however these remarks do not inspire me with confidence. I realise I tend to get a bit verbose

I wonder what the response will be?

 

CC:
“Louise Outram (Monitoring Officer, Merseytravel)” <louise.outram@merseytravel.gov.uk>,
“Stephanie Donaldson (Head of Internal Audit, Merseytravel)” <stephanie.donaldson@merseytravel.gov.uk>,
“Liz Carridge (Press Office, Merseytravel)” <liz.carridge@merseytravel.gov.uk>,

Angela Sanderson (Monitoring Officer, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority)” <angelasanderson@sthelens.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Anthony Carr (Chair, LCRCA Audit Committee)” <anthony.carr@merseytravel.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Pam Thomas (LCRCA Audit Committee)” <pamela.thomas@liverpool.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Nina Killen (LCRCA Audit Committee/Scrutiny Panel)” <nina.killen@councillors.sefton.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Andy Moorhead (LCRCA Audit Committee/LCRCA)” <andy.moorhead@knowsley.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Rob Polhill (LCRCA Audit Committee/LCRCA)” <rob.polhill@halton.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Mike Sullivan (LCRCA Audit Committee/Scrutiny Panel)” <mikesullivan@wirral.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Kevin Wainwright (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <kevan.wainwright@halton.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr David Baines (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” St Helens c/o <cllraburns@sthelens.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Lawrence Brown (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <Lawrence.Brown@liverpool.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Anthony Burns (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <cllraburns@sthelens.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Eddie Connor (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <
eddie.connor@knowsley.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Patrick Hurley (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <
patrick.hurley@liverpool.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Allan Jones (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <cllrajones@sthelens.gov.uk
>,

Cllr Anita Leech (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <anitaleech@wirral.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Sue McGuire (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <
sue.mcguire@councillors.sefton.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Michael O’Brien (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <
michael.o’brien@councillors.sefton.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Marie Stuart (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <marie.stuart@knowsley.gov.uk
>,
“Cllr Bill Woolfall (LCRCA Scrutiny Panel)” <Bill.Woolfall2@halton.gov.uk
>,
“Frank Rogers (Interim Chief Executive/Interim Head of Paid Service, Merseytravel)” <frank.rogers@merseytravel.gov.uk
>,
“Mayor Joe Anderson OBE” <mayor@liverpool.gov.uk
>,
“Councillor Phil Davies” <phildavies@wirral.gov.uk
>,

Councillor Barrie Grunewald” <CllrBGrunewald-Leader@sthelens.gov.uk>,
“Robert Hough CBE” <
info@liverpoollep.org>,
“Councillor Ian Maher” <ian.maher@councillors.sefton.gov.uk
>,

Ian Warwick (KPMG)” <ian.warwick@kpmg.co.uk>,
“Richard Tyler (KPMG)” <Richard.tyler@kpmg.co.uk>,
“Karen Christie (Knowsley press office)” <Karen.Chritie@knowsley.gov.uk>,
“Liam Robinson (Chair, Merseytravel)” <liam.robinson@liverpool.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Steve Foulkes (Merseytravel)” <stevefoulkes@wirral.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Jerry Williams (Merseytravel)” <jerrywilliams@wirral.gov.uk>,

Cllr Ron Abbey (Merseytravel)” <ronabbey@wirral.gov.uk>,
“Cllr Les Rowlands (Merseytravel)” <lesrowlands@wirral.gov.uk
>

Subject: protected disclosure (Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998)ED 18th February 2016: Although I originally thought I fell within the definition of worker in this legislation it seems I do not.

Dear all,

I am making this protected disclosure to Merseytravel, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and KPMG.

Basically I am blowing the whistle and as I have little confidence in these matters being taken seriously by the public sector or addressed in a satisfactory manner I am also taking the step of publishing these concerns.

Obviously there are other routes I can go down other than this, but I hope this will resolve matters.

From this part onwards I will number the sections for ease of reference in replies to this communication.

1.
Introduction

I am a member of the press called Mr. John Brace. Part of my job is covering public meetings of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. For clarity I am both a member of the broadcast media (as I film such meetings) and new media as I write online about these meetings. I write online at https://johnbrace.com/ , which last month (December 2015) had an audience of around 3,345 readers. I publish the video I record on the Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/level80 which in December 2015 was viewed for a total of ~87 hours.

2.
Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014

On the 6th August 2014 a piece of legislation called the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 came into effect. These can be read at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2095/contents/made and I will briefly summarise some of the main changes it made relevant to this protected disclosure:

a) it changed the existing legislation to place a positive duty on certain public bodies that now had to allow filming at their public meetings (regulation 4(5)),

b) it changed the existing legislation to make it clear that such recordings of public meetings could be published (explicitly mentioning the internet) (regulation 4(5)),

and

c) Please note in order to allay any confusion in what I am about to quote, I will point out that s.100J of the Local Government Act 1972 (which defines various terms used in Part VA means that “principal council” includes a combined authority.

This is a quote from regulation 4(5) which modifies the Local Government Act 1972.

“A person attending a meeting of a principal council in England for the purpose of reporting on the meeting must, so far as practicable, be afforded reasonable facilities for doing so.”

3. 26th January 2016
On the morning of the 26th January 2016 I attended the Merseytravel Offices which are at No 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP. For the purposes of brevity I will refer to this location as Merseytravel HQ.

This was to attend and report on a public meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Audit Committee which was scheduled to start at 10.30am. I was there with my wife and colleague Leonora Brace.

There was also at least one other member of the public present during the meeting called Ian Warwick, who works for the external auditors KPMG to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

4. What happened

We arrived at the ground floor of Merseytravel at approximately 10 am.

The meeting was to be held on the first floor of Merseytravel HQ (in a room called the Authority Room).

We were told by the receptionist (I have a recording of this conversation on tape which can be supplied) that we would not be permitted to go through the barrier to this meeting (which started at 10.30am), until 10.45am.

Obviously had we taken her assertion at face value (and it causes a certain degree of work place stress to have to continually fact check what a public sector employee states to us) this would have been a breach of our rights to attend the public meeting and report on the public meeting.

There have been times in the past at Merseytravel HQ when we have arrived in plenty of time before a meeting has been to start.

However to give an example of what happened once, we had been kept waiting and not permitted to go to the room where the meeting is held until well after the meeting had started (by the time we were allowed to attend it was from memory had started thirty minutes before). It then causes us embarrassment to arrive late to a meeting when we had indeed on that occasion arrived in plenty of time. It made it impossible then for example to report on agenda items that had already happened.

Public meetings start at different times. For example these are the start times of public meetings held at Merseytravel HQ this month (I include the cancelled Combined Authority meeting scheduled for the 22nd January 2016 too):

11.00am, 11.15am, 10.30am, 2.00pm, 2.00pm, 2.00pm.

There are other public meetings held in Merseytravel HQ too such as the Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority (also known as the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority) which start at 1.00pm.

Invariably due to the confusion caused by the receptionist stating that we wouldn’t be able to go into the meeting until 10.45, I had to double-check the time of the meeting using the guest wi-fi.

I found out that the meeting was supposed to start at 10.30am. The receptionist was therefore wrong in her assertion that we should not be allowed in until 10.45am.

I also took the opportunity to read the Combined Authority’s policy on filming.

The Monitoring Officer for the Combined Authority is Angela Sanderson. She does not work for Merseytravel, but for St Helens Borough Council.

The agreed filming policy for the Combined Authority meetings (which presumably covers meetings of its Audit Committee) is based on that originally adopted by Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council. It was agreed on the 22nd September 2014.

It can be viewed here http://councillors.knowsley.gov.uk/documents/s30342/140919%20delegated%20report%20filming.pdf?StyleType=standard&StyleSize=none .

In that policy the phone number of 0151 443 3536 (the press office of Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council) is given for enquiries.

However Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council have (as far as I know) no part in the public meeting of the Liverpool City Combined Authority Audit Committee of the 26th January 2016.

The papers for the meeting are published on Merseytravel’s website, see http://moderngov.merseytravel.uk.net/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=336&MId=1343 and the minutes are taken by a Merseytravel employee.

Here is a transcript of part of my conversation I had with the receptionist (who seems a textbook example of the doctrine of “superior orders”) to the extent below:

John Brace: This is the filming policy they use here, it’s the Knowsley Council one they use because they’re the ones that administer the Combined Authority and it says,

“Anyone wishing to do so is asked to inform them in advance to ensure any necessary arrangements can be made.”

So does that mean you need to ring the press office here or Knowsley?

Denise (who has a phone on her desk) (Merseytravel employee): No, they’ve given me instructions not to let any members of the public in there.

John Brace: No what I’m saying is your filming policy …

Denise (who has a phone on her desk) (Merseytravel employee): up until 15 minutes before until someone else is in that room.

John Brace: Sorry this is something different. Your filming policy says you request to be informed in advance of the meeting, so that’s what I’m doing.

Denise (who has a phone on her desk) (Merseytravel employee): Yeah, yeah.

John Brace: So what I’m saying is, it says media enquiries to be conducted to the Communications Team, does that mean

Denise (who has a phone on her desk) (Merseytravel employee): There you go, there’s Louise.

5. The conversation with Louise Outram

Before the public meeting started, myself and Leonora Brace had a conversation with Louise Outram (who as far as I know is the Monitoring Officer for Merseytravel) about these matters.

I will point out at this stage that this is not the first conversation I have had with Louise Outram about these issues.

Louise Outram: OK, Mr & Mrs Brace, can I take over here please?

Louise Outram: What’s the problem this morning?

John Brace: Well, the filming policy does say you require advance notice, so I was just asking whether that goes, because the policy was Knowsley’s policy so I’m not sure whether that phone number is Knowsley’s press office or your press office?

Louise Outram: Err, that looks like Knowsley’s number.

John Brace: Ahh, OK.

Louise Outram: Well I think it’s been accepted that you will film. We don’t have a problem with that. We can’t gain access to the building until there’s a committee officer within that room.

Leonora Brace: Yeah, but surely we can go upstairs and sit outside?

Louise Outram: No, you can’t. It’s a public, this is the public area and the meeting is a public meeting and we will afford you the reasonable facility to film.

Fifteen minutes before the meeting gives you sufficient time to set up your camera and at fifteen minutes before the meeting there’ll be a democratic services officer in that room.

We cannot allow the public unrestricted access to this building. We’ve got private tenants and public offices.

John Brace: Well we’ve seen plenty of members of the public go through when we’ve just been here in this short period for instance there’s one of your auditors from KPMG that doesn’t actually work for Merseytravel has gone through. You know other people have gone through into what you term as a non-public area. So,

Louise Outram: They, those officers have a legitimate meeting in this building. You have a right to the public meeting. The public meeting doesn’t start until 10.30, it’s only 10 o’clock now.

John Brace: You said 10.30, is that

Louise Outram: Yes.

John Brace: correct? I’ll just check on that, because I thought the time was different on the website,
Louise Outram and Leonora Brace: No, it’s 10.30.

John Brace: If you look here I’ll just show you, oh yes it says 10.30. Sorry I’m thinking of another one that starts at 11.15,

Louise Outram: They’re all different times unfortunately, so it is important to check the time.

(a number of people speak at once)
Louise Outram:
Yes, as soon as a Committee Officer, a Democratic Services Officer is in that room, they’ll advise Denise and Denise will allow you access up to that room to set up your camera, in the place that you normally set it up.

John Brace: The only other thing is that Leonora was saying is she’s a ********. The problem with sitting here opening and closing a lot it does get quite cold and draughty down here.

Louise Outram: Well I’m afraid we can’t do anything about that. The door has to open and close. I mean all I would suggest is that you arrive at 10.15 or fifteen minutes before whatever meeting time is scheduled and in doing that you will then be afforded the facility to come through.

John Brace: Well today for instance, as you know there’s bad weather and disruption to the transport network so it’s only advisable to leave a bit of extra time.

Louise Outram: Well I can’t allow you into the room until there’s a democratic services officer. Denise will advise you when that is. So if you’d like to sit, you’re more than welcome to sit here.

If you’d like to walk around the block, you’re more than welcome to do, but they’ll allow you in fifteen minutes before the meeting starts. OK, alright? I’ll notify Democratic Services that you’re filming again today. We do generally take it as read that you are afforded facilities to do that, so, we’ll, that’s not a problem, ok?

John Brace: Well another question I want to ask is, it states err “reasonable facilities” in the regulations, but it doesn’t actually state what they are so, is there some kind of understanding between us as to what they are or what?

Louise Outram: You come in, you are there are seats available, you generally set your tripod up, you generally move it around as in the camera around, so

John Brace: Sorry receipts?

Louise Outram: There are seats available for the public and you generally.

John Brace: Sorry I thought you said receipts.

Louise Outram: No,

(laughter)

John Brace: It’s the echoes in here isn’t it?

Louise Outram: No, you generally sit yourself in a particular position which affords you a good view of the, I mean I’ve seen your films, you know it affords you a good view of the Chamber and people are reminded to use their microphones, so we do try and ensure you get a good video of the meeting.

So I think we afford you reasonable if not very good facilities!

(laughter)

Louise Outram: The legislation unfortunately doesn’t describe anything formal but, and it doesn’t give any guidance as well, so I would say we (unclear)

I think so, I think you’re getting yourself a good spec.

Leonora Brace: It’s nearly ten past now!

Louise Outram: Well the Democratic Services officer will notify Denise and she’ll allow you access through.

John Brace: But it’s not Denise’s decision?

Louise Outram: She’s acting on instructions from ourselves.

John Brace: Oh I was trying to explain to Leonora, that she was getting instructions from above, it’s not her decision to make.

Louise Outram: It’s not Denise! (laughter)

John Brace: Does that help at all or not?

Leonora Brace: No.

6. Conclusion

There are many issues this raises.

For example the public sector equality duty (which was ironically raised by Cllr Pam Thomas at the meeting we were at). .

For example the area Louise Outram insists we wait in has no access to water or toilets.

This discriminates against two people with protected characteristics as Merseytravel is fully aware why we would require greater access to these than others.

To give one example, the pollution found in Liverpool City Centre, where Merseytravel HQ is based makes me thirsty because I’m an asthmatic.

Merseytravel is fully aware of the disability I have and the nature and extent of those disabilites as a District Judge at Birkenhead County Court found in the past that Merseytravel had discriminated against me three times (but accepted Merseytravel’s defence that on each occasion it was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim).

One could regard denying me access to water in such circumstances as degrading treatment contrary to Article 3.

Are we expected to bring our own water to such meetings?

Article 2 deals with freedom of movement which is again restricted.

It is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way this is incompatible with a Convention Right (s. 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998).

Merseytravel states that it prides itself on good industrial relations with its workforce. We both work in Merseytravel HQ, yet not for Merseytravel. Yet Merseytravel management unilaterally imposed this new policy upon us without formally consulting us first.

I hope I will receive a satisfactory response to the issues raised. Not just for my benefit, but for that of Leonora, other members of the media who attend public meetings at Merseytravel HQ and indeed the wider public who may wish to do so.

Long drawn out legal cases are neither beneficial to either Merseytravel or myself, adverse press criticism is about the only tool I have to bring about change.

Merseytravel is part of the public sector and should be able to resolve this issues well before they get to this stage.

I would hope that after having read the above that matters will change.

However realising how difficult cultural attitudes are to change in an organisation, I am not hopeful of a quick resolution to these matters.

I can be contacted in the following ways:

Address: Jenmaleo, 134 Boundary Road, Birkenhead, CH43 7PH
Email: john@johnbrace.com
Tel: 0151 512 2500 (but please not that due to the nature of my work you are highly likely to just get the answering machine)

P.S. Last year I heard Mayor Anderson (now Chair of the Combined Authority) state at a public meeting how hurt he was when decisions affecting his employment with Chesterfield School were made without prior consultation and about his political beliefs as a trade unionist.

If Merseytravel have behaved in the way I describe above (which I have the tape to prove), then management is not acting in accordance with the political belief of the Chair of the Combined Authority who is answerable to the public for its functioning.

I would also like it confirmed (as three senior managers at Merseytravel, Stephanie Donaldson, Liz Carridge and Louise Outram) were involved in trying to persuade me to alter the article here:

Merseytravel’s Head of Internal Audit brands some whistleblowing as “Mickey Mouse” & “complete nonsense”
https://johnbrace.com/2014/11/25/merseytravels-head-of-internal-audit-brands-whistleblowing-as-mickey-mouse-complete-nonsense/


that these actions described above haven’t been implemented by Merseytravel management in response to that matter.

Yours sincerely,

John Brace


If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agrees to ask government for further powers over Mersey Tunnels, transport, fire, police, skills, employment, European funding, trade, housing, health, energy and more!

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agrees to ask government for further powers over Mersey Tunnels, transport, fire, police, skills, employment, European funding, trade, housing, health, energy and more!

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agrees to ask government for further powers over Mersey Tunnels, transport, fire, police, skills, employment, European funding, trade, housing, health, energy and more!

                                                           

Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.

YouTube privacy policy

If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.

The video above of the Special Meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority of the 2nd September will finish uploading by about 16:30 on the 2/9/15. Once processed it should be available for viewing but is not available at the time this blog post was published.

Mayor Joe Anderson speaking about devolution at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (2nd September 2015) thumbnail
Mayor Joe Anderson speaking about devolution at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (2nd September 2015) thumbnail

At a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, councillors, the Mayor of Liverpool and co-opted members agreed a revised set of recommendations. The revised recommendations appeared only minutes before the meeting started.

The revised recommendations approve a request to the Conservative government to devolve powers to the city region as part of a devolution deal.

Here are the original recommendations (with the crossed out parts deleted by the revised recommendations):

It is recommended that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority:-

(a) comments upon, and endorses the devolution themes that will form the basis of the Liverpool City Region’s input to the Comprehensive Spending Review on the 4 September 2015 (NB: this detail will form the basis of a follow-on report for members’ consideration); and

(b) notes that the devolution process will remain an iterative process and that further information will be presented to future meetings of the Authority, for members’ consideration."

Here are the revised recommendations agreed today:

1.1 Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is recommended to:

  1. Approve the initial scope of the proposals as outlined in the supplementary report and the presentation made to the Combined Authority as the Liverpool City Region’s formal submission to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, subject to a delegation to the Head of Paid Service in consultation with the Chair of the Combined Authority and the Lead Officer: Economic Development to make any drafting amendments to the final document;
  2. Continue negotiations with Government over the Autumn period in advance of the publication of the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review to secure a bespoke devolution ‘deal’ for Liverpool City Region which will:
  1. Drive economic growth and increase productivity;
  2. Reduce costs and improve outcomes across the whole of the public sector;
    and
  3. Improve social outcomes and better health and wellbeing for local residents.
  1. Note that any actual agreement with Government would require the approval of constituent Councils with appropriate consultation put in place;
  2. Note that devolution negotiations are an iterative process and that further information will be presented to future meetings of the Combined Authority, for Member’s consideration and approval; and
  3. Note that any Agreement will only be signed by both the Constituent Councils and Government when both parties are fully satisfied with the final details of the Devolution Deal.

So what are the proposals that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority are asking the government for?

The proposals are in this supplementary report and include the points below (plus other asks):

  • Abolishing Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and transferring its functions to an elected Liverpool City Region Mayor
  • Abolishing the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside and transferring its functions to an elected Liverpool City Region Mayor
  • Asking for a legislation change so that any surplus Mersey Tunnel tolls can be used for economic development
  • “the repayment of historic Mersey Tunnels debts by government”
  • Development Corporation Status for the Liverpool City Region
  • Creation of a Land Commission
  • “Designation of catapult Centres in the City Region for Manufacturing Technology Centre focused on marine and renewable energy and a Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases”
  • “A Free Trade Zone designation for the Liverpool Wirral Port system that includes provision for Global Zone-to-Zone Transfers, No Duty on Value Added and Enhanced Customs Warehousing”
  • “We want government to give us a long-term Special Rail Grant (SRG) to help
    secure a new fleet of Merseyrail trains.”
  • “the development of a generation system of regional significance, for example, an offshore tidal lagoon”
  • Also requested are “asks” under the headings of “cultural partnership and creative dock”, “community safety, enforcement, licensing and regulatory services”, “education”, “children’s services” and “health, wellbeing and social care”

Certainly the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is asking for many changes from the government, which if agreed in principle will be subject to consultation.

Here are what some of the people on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority had to say at today’s public meeting that agreed the proposals:

Mayor Joe Anderson (Mayor of Liverpool, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) said, "There will be opportunities, there also will be more negotiations of more substance with businesses, with other political parties, with other interested groups like health, the voluntary sector, the trade unions and others to engage and involve themselves in the process."

Cllr Phil Davies (Chair, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) asked, "In the near future presumably we’ll be drawing up a consultation programme if you like as the negotiations roll out?"

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.

David Parr tells Liverpool City Region Combined Authority about how Mersey Gateway Bridge will cost under £600 million

David Parr tells Liverpool City Region Combined Authority about how Mersey Gateway Bridge will cost under £600 million

David Parr tells Liverpool City Region Combined Authority about how Mersey Gateway Bridge will cost under £600 million

                                                                                                          

Updated: 11:25 24/11/14 Declaration of interest: In February 1997 the author of this piece was an employee of John Moores University for a week on work experience.

The papers for last Friday morning’s public meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority can be found on Knowsley Council’s website.

If you wish to watch what happened at the meeting you can do so below filmed by myself. If you want to watch me filming the meeting you can do so thanks to Knowsley Council. Also filming was somebody from Liverpool John Moores University Journalism. I think three people filming the same meeting is a record so far (considering that before August 2014 all requests to film Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meetings were refused).

Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.

YouTube privacy policy

If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority public meeting 21st November 2014

However, what actually happened? A good chunk of the meeting (around half) was a twenty-five minutes presentation (followed by questions and answers) by Halton Borough Council’s Chief Executive David Parr (pictured below) on the Mersey Gateway bridge across the River Mersey being built in Halton near to the Silver Jubilee Bridge (or Runcorn Bridge).

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st November 2014 L to R David Parr Chief Executive Halton Council Angela Sanderson Monitoring Officer Jim Fogarty Treasurer Cllr Phil Davies Chair Wirral Council
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st November 2014 L to R David Parr Chief Executive Halton Council Angela Sanderson Monitoring Officer Jim Fogarty Treasurer Cllr Phil Davies Chair Wirral Council

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st November 2014 item 5 Mersey Gateway Progress Update L to R David Parr Chief Executive Halton Council Angela Sanderson Monitoring Officer Jim Fogarty Treasurer Cllr Phil Davies Chair Wirral Council

Agreement was also reached to amend the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s constitution. Last month on the 15th October 2014 West Lancashire Council decided to join the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as an Associate Member.

However to join, first the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority had to amend its constitution. Now that’s been done, a memorandum of understanding will be sent to West Lancashire Council which will need to be signed by them. However it seems likely that by the time the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority next meets that there will be someone there representing West Lancashire Council.

The area covered by West Lancashire has a population of 111,314 (2013 estimate), which is about a third of the Wirral. Its current political composition is 26 Labour councillors and 27 Conservative councillors. It was (until recently) evenly split at 27:27 but there is now (at the time of writing) a by-election going on in Skelmersdale North due to the recent death of a Labour councillor. The results of the by-election will be known by December 12th 2014.

The rest of the meeting was largely routine. However I welcome both hearing the result of the Skelmersdale North by-election and seeing who West Lancashire Council send to the next public meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Pictures of its Leader and Deputy Leader can be viewed on this blog which covers the West Lancashire area.

If you click on any of these buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people. Thanks: