Tees Valley Devolution Agreement

Tees Valley believes that the real impact of its decentralization agreement and the evolution of the provision of adult education and training and skills will be seen in the longer term. The goal of the RTW is to address the challenges that have existed for decades and will therefore take some time. 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. 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. 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. 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. The Shared Prosperity Fund offers other opportunities for decentralization The Combined Authority has invested in a broader education, employment and skills programme, in which the Education, Employment and Qualifications Partnership Committee acts as a Skills Committee. The decentralization agreement, combined with the establishment of a mayor, created a platform for strategic discussions with government authorities to shape policy, although the experience was mixed. In addition, decentralization has allowed the co-production of the local industrial strategy with the government. It has also helped to develop much closer working relationships with key partners and stakeholders, including suppliers. Cooperation with partners and stakeholders and their involvement in the process have been a priority. The emphasis is on openness and transparency in the development and implementation of systems, the exchange of processes and information. Tees Valley argues that strong stakeholder governance prior to decentralization and the profile and role of the mayor have played an important role in ensuring that important messages are shared. The Tees Valley decentralization agreement also included additional funding to support our ambitious projects.

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