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Javid hints at non-mayoral combined authorities

Communities minister Sajid Javid has spoken of the potential for new combined authorities to be set up in the future which do not have a single mayor.

Speaking at the County Councils Network (CCN) conference yesterday, Javid mentioned the possibility of new kinds of authorities as he discussed the positive impact of embracing devolution.

These kinds of bodies would likely exist in rural areas where other models of government would be unsuitable or inefficient.

“If you have an idea for making local government work better, one that serves the interests of local people, then please come and tell me about it,” the secretary commented.

“If local people want it, if local businesses want it, I will do what I can to help you make it happen. And that could include non-mayoral combined authorities in, for example, rural areas where a single figurehead is not necessarily suitable.

“To help with that process we are looking at how to design a devolution framework.”

He went on to define some details of the potential framework – which was described as a “common set of guidelines”.

Mayors have previously been an official part of combined authority deals, but this admission could allow a totally new form of local government to be utilized.

Javid focused heavily on devolution in his speech, with the government keen to push county councils to join in the process as many cities already have.

Major deals have been introduced recently, with London’s health devolution agreement beginning last week, and Yorkshire plans being discussed.

However, some rural councils have been split over the formation of combined authorities. Recent Dorset proposals that Javid said he was minded to accept have been criticised by three of the councils involved, as some organisations were worried they would be distanced from residents.

Top image: David Mirzoeff

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