An Introduction to the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority
What is the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority?
A Combined Authority is a new kind of local government body that takes over certain powers which currently belong to central government or separate local councils, led by an elected Mayor.
The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority will involve the newly-formed North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council, and cover every region they preside over. However, it will not replace either of these bodies.
The aim of the new Combined Authority is to provide more powers and funding to York and North Yorkshire as a whole, allowing big decisions to be devolved from Westminster.
Some devolution deals have included the transfer of powers in respect or policing, crime, and fire strategy and governance. Where powers like these do transfer, they are exercised by the Mayor rather than by the Combined Authority.
What other Combined Authorities currently exist?
As of May 2023, there are 10 Combined Authorities in England, 9 of which have directly elected Mayors and are Combined Authorities. All have extensive powers over transport and economic decisions, although York and North Yorkshire will be the first MCA to also be responsible for Fire and Rescue services from the outset.
In addition, we will be the first-ever OPFCC to transfer to a Mayoral devolution model.
The first Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, was established in 2011. Since then, the Combined Authorities across England have directly invested billions of pounds across their regions, expanding public transport, developing cultural institutions, and creating job and educational opportunities for young people.
How does this affect us?
The powers of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) to oversee the Police and Fire services in North Yorkshire will be transferred to the new Mayor once elected, along with the Commissioner’s role as the Fire Authority. The new Mayor will be likely to appoint a Deputy Mayor for Policing Fire and Crime to perform the day-to-day functions of the role currently undertaken by the PFCC, in a similar manner to the approach other Combined Authorities have taken.
This will create opportunities to align police, fire and crime priorities with transport, housing, skills and employment and to improve outcomes for the public.
All OPFCC staff will be transferring to the new Combined Authority once the Mayor is elected in May 2024. North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service officers and staff will also be transferring.
Although scrutiny and oversight of North Yorkshire Police will be undertaken by the new Mayor/Deputy Mayor, North Yorkshire Police officers and staff will not be transferring to the new Combined Authority and North Yorkshire Police itself will remain a separate corporate body.
When is this due to happen?
The current timeline for the transition to the Combined Authority is as follows:
- August 2022 – The agreement on the Combined Authority between City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council was signed.
- November 2023 – The new governance structure for the Combined Authority will be agreed, via an Order laid before Parliament on Tuesday 7 November – The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Order 2023 (legislation.gov.uk)
- January 2024 – The new Combined Authority legally comes into being.
- May 2024 – Elections to be held to choose the new Mayor who will lead the MCA, with the transition being officially completed the following day.