English devolution is gathering pace. The government is set on supporting devolution to combined local authorities and directly elected mayors across England. Local government is responding with enthusiasm and energy. There are many arguments to be made for this policy, though the extent of the devolved powers and the transfer of resources to support these powers warrants detailed scrutiny and challenge. This is especially true at a time when government is drastically cutting its revenue grant to the same local authorities, which are being forced to cut core public services and community initiatives. The government’s insistence that combined authorities must be accompanied by directly elected mayors seems very prescriptive and not in tune with a localist agenda. However, given the programme is being implemented or planned across both metropolitan and rural sub-regions, what matters most is to ensure that the risk of a democratic deficit is addressed. This is why … (To read the full article, subscribe below)
John Tizard is an independent strategic advisor and commentator on public policy and services. He is a former council leader and was director of the Centre for Public Service Partnerships.
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