Devolution and public service reform continue to be key areas of ambition for London government following the EU referendum and the measures announced by the Chancellor in the 2016 autumn statement to devolve further powers to local government and boost regional infrastructure. Since the autumn statement, London local government and the Mayor of London have been collaborating to establish a clear articulation of the case for further public service reform and devolution.
The announcements within the 2016 autumn statement demonstrated that there is a recognition that, as the UK begins the process of leaving the European Union, powers and regulations should be devolved locally instead of simply moving from European to central government. London Councils is now in a process of engaging with boroughs and sub-regional groups to gather input into a refreshed account of London’s devolution ambitions – in order to secure additional housing, employment and fiscal devolution and help to deliver inclusive growth in London.
London borough leaders are continuing to work alongside the Mayor and other London boroughs to generate a more formal list of London’s further devolution ambitions.
London's 33 local authorities, 32 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the Mayor of London, NHS England and Public Health England have built on their shared vision set out in Better Health for London by signing a London Health and Care Collaboration Agreement (PDF).
The Chancellor and Secretary of State for Health have, in parallel, signed a devolution agreement with London (PDF).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between London boroughs and health and social care partners, which will facilitate the next steps of the devolution agreement made with the Government in December 2015, is expected to be agreed soon. The MoU is expected to be a permissive document, enabling boroughs to opt-in to detailed devolution proposals to increase local integration, prevention, and reinvestment of receipts from capital and estates.
For more information visit our health and care devolution in London webpage.
Over the past few years, a range of work carried out by London, including most prominently the London Growth Deal submission, has started to set out London’s offer to create a step change in reducing entrenched worklessness and broader dependency on public services through greater local design, leadership and integration of employment support services. London’s engagement in this area is driven by a broader ambition around transforming public services.
In our spending review submission – The London Proposition – we made the case for greater local involvement driving better services and improved employment outcomes, especially for our most disadvantaged residents. As such, we seek a partnership with the government aimed at forging a better employment (and skills) ‘eco-system’ in London, capable of driving greater investment, integration and innovation. It would be organised around three key principles:
- Universal support provided through co-located and integrated ‘local hubs’; including prototyping more sophisticated diagnostic and triage.
- A specialist employment support programme for disadvantaged residents, where devolution drives greater investment and integration.
- Joint governance of the employment and skills ‘eco-system’, including a financing and accountability arrangement that shares investment and reward
London Councils and the sub-regional borough groupings are currently engaged in detailed discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) regarding funding to deliver the devolved Work and Health Programme (WHP) in London by March 2018. Following extensive negotiations with the DWP, CLG and the Treasury, London Councils has secured an agreement that funding of up to £80 million (in addition to up to £60 million of European Social Fund match funding) over five years will be devolved to sub-regional level in order for the WHP to be delivered across London. This will facilitate enhanced integration with local services and a clear local role in specifying and commissioning the WHP to enable it to support local economic growth by raising employment rates for people with disabilities and health conditions as well as the long-term unemployed.
Following the Chancellor’s announcement in the 2016 autumn statement to commit to devolve the adult education budget (AEB) to London from 2019/20, London Councils are engaging with the GLA regarding its delivery and the possible establishment of a two-tier system of devolution involving the sub-regional groupings of boroughs. London Councils and the GLA have also begun to initiate plans for local employment hubs with the Government and will continue to explore these proposals with the Job Centre Plus in order to encourage the co-location and integration of these services across London.
The Chancellor announced in the 2016 autumn statement that the GLA would receive £3.15 billion to start building 90,000+ homes across London by 2020/21, following negotiations with and lobbying of the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) supported by London Councils. In addition, a contractor has been appointed by London Councils to develop a business plan and structure for Collaborative Delivery Vehicle for housing in order to help all London boroughs increase their homebuilding capacity.
London Councils and the GLA are making the case for additional devolved powers to drive housing delivery in London, which it is hoped could potentially be included in the upcoming Housing White Paper.
London Councils is engaging with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), the Mayor of London and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in order to explore the options for greater influence over the criminal justice system in London, including how local areas can be given more flexibility to improve youth justice services following the recommendations announced in the Charlie Taylor Review in December 2016. The review suggested that the MoJ should increase devolved decision-making, including allowing local authorities to organise youth justice provision as they see fit locally.
London Councils is continuing to engage in partnership work with the sub-regional borough groupings to identify their transport infrastructure priorities, which will guide London Councils’ responses to the GLA’s prioritisation of transport schemes. London Councils will also work with London boroughs and the GLA to secure the introduction of a devolved system of infrastructure levies would give boroughs greater fiscal flexibility to invest in local infrastructure and increase inclusive growth.
The reconvened London Finance Commission engaged with London Councils as part of the wider consultation process regarding its final report to Government, which was launched on 27 January 2017. The final LFC report recommends that the Government should consider:-
-Full business rates retention
-Devolution of a suite of property taxes, such as Council Tax and Stamp Duty
-Local control over a proportion of national taxes, such as Income Tax and Value Added Tax
-Permissive powers for local authorities to raise alternative taxes and levies, such as the apprenticeship levy, Vehicle Excise Duty, and community levies
-Expanding Tax Increment Financing to other taxes, such as Stamp Duty