Devolution and local government reorganisation
Devolution sees the government hand over decision-making powers to local political leaders and provide millions of pounds in funding to shape major policies and projects on a regional level.
To enable a devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire, the government stipulated that we had to replace the two-tier system of local government in North Yorkshire, made up of the former county council and seven district and borough authorities, with a single unitary authority.
As a result of this, North Yorkshire Council launched on 1 April 2023. City of York Council continued as a unitary authority.
Following local government reorganisation, a 30-year devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire, with an investment fund of over £500 million, was announced in August 2022. This led to the launch of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority on 1 February 2024.
Elections for the mayor of the combined authority will take place on 2 May, you can find out more on our York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority mayoral election page.
About the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority
You can find out more on the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority website or by reading the frequently asked questions below.
How does the introduction of the combined authority affect the council?
Our council and City of York Council will continue as they are, working at a local level to deliver vital services for residents. The combined authority will deliver on a wider scale across both areas, working in partnership with the two unitary authorities to deliver the devolved investment.
What is a combined authority?
A combined authority is where a group of councils work together across a larger area. The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority has been created by the City of York Council and ourselves.
The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority is a legally recognised, single body. Their role is to use some of the money and powers, that up to now have been held by central government, and work with local leaders and communities to invest in ways that will help to make York and North Yorkshire a better place for you to live, work and do business.
Who is in charge and how are decisions made?
The combined authority will be led by an elected mayor with elections taking place on 2 May.
The York and North Yorkshire Mayor will chair the Combined Authority Board. The mayor will be joined on the board by:
- two councillors from our council
- two councillors from City of York Council
- the Chair of the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Business Committee – this is an advisory role and the Business Committee Chair is not a voting member of the combined authority
The Combined Authority Board is supported by the executive team of officers. The executive team’s role is to:
- provide economic analysis and insights to support decision making and prioritising of combined authority activity
- work in partnership to generate ideas for the future investments that the combined authority might want to consider and bid for future investment
- deliver the programme of investment for the mayor and the combined authority
- successfully operate in accordance with the transparency and compliance framework for local government
What difference will it make?
The York and North Yorkshire Mayor will lead investment of £540 million to be spent over the next 30 years. This is just the start. The mayor will work with local leaders to bring more money into our region to invest in the things that matter to us.
The mayor will be a strong voice and a champion for York and North Yorkshire businesses and communities. They will provide leadership in public safety, taking on the role and functions of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
Big decisions about our region will be taken by our mayor and local leaders, as powers and funding is devolved from Westminster. This is an opportunity for more control over our region and how our economy can grow in the right ways to create new jobs and opportunities for local people. This is about more power and resources in the hands of local leaders.
From day one of the combined authority, on 1 February, work was underway to support projects. This includes supporting investment already allocated: £12.7 million to deliver 700 new homes on brownfield sites and a further £10 million to support transition to net zero, unlocking economic opportunity, empowering business growth and creating new and better paid jobs.
Who is in charge prior to the mayoral elections on 2 May?
Meetings of the Combined Authority Board prior to the mayor being in post are chaired by councillors from our council and City of York Council.
Staff working for the combined authority will report to James Farrar, York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority Interim Head of Paid Service.
When will the new mayor take office?
Tuesday 7 May 2024.
Where will the new mayor’s office be located?
From 1 February, staff working for the combined authority will use offices in York (West Offices, Station Rise) and Northallerton (County Hall). The mayor is set to work from both offices.
What is the role of mayor?
When they are elected in May 2024, the combined authority will be led by the York and North Yorkshire Mayor. The York and North Yorkshire Mayor chairs the combined authority.
The role of the mayor is to work alongside local leaders to create a long-term vision, secure more money and be a strong voice and champion for the region.
The mayor is not a serving councillor and will not replace the leaders of existing councils.
Once elected, the York and North Yorkshire Mayor will serve a 4 year term, at which point they can choose to stand for re-election. There is no limit on how many terms a mayor can serve.
What are the powers and responsibilities of the York and North Yorkshire Mayor?
The mayor and combined authority will have certain powers and responsibilities, devolved to them by central government.
In summary, these include:
- responsibility for the 30-year Mayoral Investment Fund and the powers to borrow against funds
- full devolution of the adult education budget
- powers to improve the supply and quality of housing and secure the development of land or infrastructure
- powers and funds to improve transport through a consolidated, devolved, multi-year transport settlement
- responsibilities for community safety and the powers to appoint a deputy mayor to carry out many of the duties currently held by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner
What budget will the mayor have?
At the inaugural meeting of the combined authority on January 22, a combined authority budget was proposed and endorsed. Read the details of the budget paper.
A Mayoral Investment Fund is worth £540 million over 30 years.
From launch to March 2025, the new combined authority will be in receipt of more than £56 million of funds to invest for the benefit of communities across the region. This includes £12.7 million for housing, to deliver more than 700 new homes on brownfield sites, and a further £10 million to support transition to net zero, unlocking economic opportunity, empowering business growth and creating new and better paid jobs. An adult education budget will also be devolved to York and North Yorkshire.
The combined authority will continue to deliver business services such as the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub, which has supported over 800 businesses already this year.
Where will the mayor’s funding come from?
Funding will be devolved from central government to the region. In addition, from May, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s functions will join the combined authority, which includes funding from the existing precept within council tax.
How many staff are there at the combined authority?
Initially, the combined authority will have 54 staff and will employ a number of supporting services. This includes staff integrating from the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Roles will include the delivery of over £56 million of transformational programmes, attracting additional investment and supporting businesses.
Once in post, the mayor will be able to appoint staff and funding includes an estimated allowance for the mayor and their office. They will have their final allowances, including staffing costs, determined by the combined authority with advice from an independent panel.
Following the mayoral elections, functions currently held by the Office of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will also transfer into the combined authority.