House of Commons Library

Combined authorities

Published Wednesday, November 23, 2016

This briefing note outlines the origins and structures of combined authorities, which will handle many of the 'devolution deals' agreed between the Government and local areas in England.

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Combined authorities are a legal structure that may be set up by local authorities in England. They can be set up with or without a directly-elected mayor. The relevant legislation is the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 and the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016.

Combined authorities may be set up by two or more local authorities. They may take on statutory functions transferred to them by an Order made by the Secretary of State, plus any functions that the constituent authorities agree to share.

The first combined authority to be established was the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, in 2011. In 2014-16, the Government has negotiated ‘devolution deals’ with several areas. Each of the existing combined authorities has negotiated a deal, and new mayoral combined authorities have been proposed in other participating areas. Orders implementing the devolution deals have been laid before Parliament during 2016.

Further details on the background to, and content of, devolution deals can be found in the Library briefing paper Devolution to local government in England.

Commons Briefing papers SN06649

Author: Mark Sandford

Topics: Devolution, Local government, Public administration

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