More transparency and public consultation needed in devolution deals
The Communities and Local Government Committee has today released a report highly supportive of the principle of greater devolution but is critical that the devolution negotiations to date have lacked transparency. In addition it calls for greater public engagement, before, during and following devolution agreements.
CfGS, which has been campaigning for greater openess in devolution deals submitted both written and oral evidence to the committee.
On the release of the report Jacqui McKinlay, Chief Executive said:
“We are delighted with the committee’s report – it highlights the same concerns CfGS has been raising for a number of months. We are strong supporters of devolution and believe that the process of devolution can ultimately be a positive one. It does, however, need to be open, clear and transparent. Too often, the way that bids and proposals have been designed and submitted has had the appearance of being conducted in proverbial smoke filled rooms – opaque and with no input or engagement with local communities, and very often excluding councillors outside of a handful of leaders. This is a tone that has been set by the way that Government has sought to carry out negotiations, but sets a poor precedent for the way that devolved arrangements will work in practice. Devolution is an ongoing process and we call on the parties involved in these negotiations be upfront and transparent about the deals that are being made, to communicate the implications of the changes and directly engage with those that will be affected. They should do this not just because it is the right thing to do but because it will improve the implementation of devolution and lead to better outcomes for all involved. Our suggestion to Government that combined authorities should agree a “governance framework” covering policy development and performance management, and confirming how non-executive councillors and the public will be involved in both, is we think a critical means of achieving these outcomes.”