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Provide a common devolution framework for authorities in England

Last updated: 09:37pm 9 September 2019

With devolution now established in London and other parts of England, we will consolidate our approach, providing clarity across England on what devolution means for different administrations so all authorities operate in a common framework.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.32

Our verdict

Unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, England does not have its own devolved Parliament or Assembly. However, a form of devolution has developed in London, which has the London Assembly and London Mayor, established in 2000. From 2014 onwards various “devolution deals” have also been done in other English regions between central government and the combined authorities of local councils, but these settlements differ in terms of the powers granted to each devolved authority. This is a promise to consolidate the approach into a common framework.

In September 2018 the government gave an update on its English devolution policy in a response to a report from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. The government stated that they were “in the process of developing a devolution framework for England” in line with the manifesto commitment. They also said:

“We aim to be able to provide local areas, including rural areas, with clarity on how best to take forward their devolution and local growth ambitions over the coming months, and recognise that mayoral governance will not be suitable in all areas. This work is being lead [sic] by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.”

Under the terms of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016 the government is required to provide Parliament with an annual update on devolution. In March 2019 the Annual Report on Devolution was published. It contained no mention of work towards a “common framework”.

Since September 2018, we are unable to find evidence that government is working on this policy. By contrast, in July 2019, a Cabinet Office update on progress in Common Frameworks for devolved administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast pointed to a Revised Frameworks Analysis and laid out a five-phase delivery process.  Until we see at least the beginning of something similar for this pledge we’re classifying this as ‘not started’. Follow this policy to stay updated.

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