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Tees Valley Devolution Agreement

In October 2015, the five Tees Valley Local Authorities and Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership signed a decentralization agreement with the government. The agreement allowed the transfer of specific powers and responsibilities for economic growth from Whitehall to Tees Valley. This document contains a decentralisation agreement that gives Tees Valley greater control over transport, qualifications, business support and other areas. The Chancellor of the Exchequer visited Tees Valley on October 23, 2015 to validate the decentralization contract. Paul Booth, president of Tees Valley Unlimited, the local partnership for Tees Valley, said: “Tees Valley is at the forefront of decentralization and gives more power, greater freedoms and greater resources. Tees Valley was awarded a decentralization contract in 2015 and has been elected mayor since 2017. The mayor and the combined authority have transferred responsibility for some of the region`s educational supplies after 19 years and control the AEB, the amount being agreed annually. Decentralized powers include managing this budget, providing adult education and training services, funding and performance management. On April 16, a combined authority was formalized and, from May 2017, a mayor directly elected to Tees Valley will be established.

The Mayor will work within the combined authority, which is subject to local democratic control, and in partnership with the economy, through Tees Valley Unlimited, the local business partnership for Tees Valley. This agreement will be subject to legislative process, approval of constituent councils and formal approval by the Tees Valley Combined Authority Leadership Board. Partnership work and the vision of change and flexibility vary over time and may, to some extent, depend on relationships with public servants. It is important to ensure that the commitment is consistent on both sides, and there is clarity and agreement on what can and cannot be delegated. The transition to this more local model has been a major change and has sometimes required difficult decisions, including a different approach to commissioning. The Combined Authority has developed increased dialogue and openness with its suppliers, but has also stepped up service management. Prior to decentralization, there were more than 270 suppliers and subcontractors who provided skills. As a result of decentralization, which included an open and transparent commissioning process, which took into account the economic and strategic existence of provisions, and strong performance management, there are now 32 suppliers and 11 of these suppliers awarding subcontracts. The Combined Authority argues that this reduction has not had a negative effect on the width of the provisions that residents can access. He believes that while this caused some shock in the industry at the beginning, there is a sense of respect for this new approach to commissioning, which puts all suppliers on the same level. Sue Jeffrey, Chair of the Shadow Combined Authority and Chair of the Redcar And Cleveland Borough Council, said, “I am pleased that the government has put on the table a decentralization agreement and, if agreed by all tees Valley councils, it will undoubtedly allow us to do more on the ground to strengthen our economy and ensure a more sustainable future for the Tees Valley It`s Valley. In the coming months, we will discuss with residents and businesses what the proposals mean to them.

But we must not lose sight of the good news, but that there is still an urgent need to focus on action to help our city and our people cope with the shock caused by the current ISS crisis. The Combined Authority considers the degree of integration and the definition of the local labour market to be essential to building its model of decentralisation of skills. It considers the Combined Authority to be an optimal size, as it is concerned that work in a wider labour market will limit the chances of change and success.

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