Agenda item

Proposed Devolution Deal for Devon and Torbay


The Assistant Director Growth, Development & Prosperity updated Members to proposals to negotiate a devolution deal with government for the Devon, Plymouth and Torbay area. This was prompted by the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper, passage of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act and subsequent potential to progress a Level 2 deal which would result in the establishment of a Combined County Authority without an elected Mayor.


These negotiations had now concluded, and the proposed offer of a deal had been published for a 6-week consultation period running until the 24 March 2024. It was important to note that the geographical scope no longer included the Plymouth administrative area.


Discussions included the following.

·       How would a joint scrutiny work?

·       Why should we accept a limited influence as a district council. Districts want to be part of the process.

·       EDDC should ask to lead on the work concerning the governance arrangements.

·       Can we stay as we are?

·       There was nothing to lose going ahead with this and could gain more funding.

·       EDDC would be the junior partners with the possible opportunity for extra funding and other services/provisions, however this was not for the whole of Devon.

·       Concern over accountability and democracy as EDDC would not have any voting strength.

·       This felt like a power-grab and cannot understand why Exeter City Council were not included. Devon was too big and economically diverse for not all councils to be included. Why would Torbay get more of the ‘slice’?

·       Tourism needs to be linked with culture.

·       Concern for future of leisure services, adult social care, libraries and health and well-being services.

·       This felt like a fundamentally irrational approach.

·       The need for evidence of a cost-benefit analysis and business case. £16m sounded a lot but not once it had been distributed between the new Devon & Torbay Combined County Authority.

·       Looks good on paper but its needs to be beneficial to East Devon.

·       There was a democratic deficit and EDDC were just a consultee.

·       The need to approach with caution. Could be taking possible funding by giving up our democratic right – felt very one-sided.

·       What were the views of other district councils? There should be one collective response from Team Devon.

·       There were still a lot of questions to be answered while having to put much trust into this. Seems like a bit of a promise. What is the long-term benefit.

·       We would lose the opportunity to put bids in for further funding for ourselves.

·       The challenge was the likelihood of a different Government before this goes live.

·       How can we influence the consultation with our concerns?

·       This was about devolution, how was Devon going to do this?

·       There should be an equitable funding split on population size between the authorities, with the larger proportion going to Devon.

·       CCA needs to prioritise business certainty and promote ‘green’ jobs.



That Cabinet;

1.     Notes the publication of the proposed offer of a Devolution Deal for Devon and Torbay and the key issues arising from the proposals.

2.     Gives delegated authority to the Interim Chief Executives in consultation the Leader and Portfolio Holder for Council and Corporate Co-ordination to agree a consultation response that addresses these key issues and reflects those that have been expressed by Members.

3.     Liaise with other Devon District Councils to seek to obtain as much commonality as possible within the responses to the consultation.

4.     Request that officers seek further information about proposals relating to the involvement of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and what implications of those proposals might be, and to clarify the intentions for the two unallocated non constitute member seats. 



To ensure that the key issues for the District were identified and fed in to the consultation exercise for the Devolution Deal and subsequent likely establishment of a Combined County Authority.

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