Gloucestershire’s bid for more power forges ahead

Gloucestershire’s devolution bid is gathering pace as detailed proposals are submitted to government.

In July a statement of intent document, We are Gloucestershire, was sent to Ministers to confirm our county’s enthusiasm to take greater control of our public services.

It was developed by countywide partners Gloucestershire County Council, the six district councils, GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

After reviewing our statement of intent the government has indicated that our bid is worth exploring. And a government representative was appointed to work with the partners to develop our detailed bid and firm up what Gloucestershire is asking for.

On Friday 4 September, a full submission outlining exactly what Gloucestershire wants, how it would work and what the benefit would be has been sent to Whitehall for consideration. Gloucestershire expects to hear back from Ministers later in the autumn.

Devolution would allow Gloucestershire to have responsibility for public services based on what people need and want.

Partners would have more say over social care and health spending, local transport networks, business rates, education and infrastructure.

It also continues to build on the excellent joint working that is already going on in the county.

The detailed bid is an ambitious pitch however it will start the conversation with government about the future for Gloucestershire.

Following the same format as the statement of intent, the bid outlines five sections:

  1. Accelerating growth – infrastructure, planning, transport, business skills and employment
  2. Health and social care – single vision for health and social care, delivered collectively by partners, based on what local people really need
  3. Community safety – joined up public protection and safeguarding practice to improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable people
  4. Finance and assets – getting the best out of the £3billion public sector money spent in Gloucestershire by commissioning together and investing together to prevent demand in future
  5. Governance – establishing a single point of governance to remove barriers without merging organisations

Cllr Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “Good progress has been made in the short time since we submitted the initial statement of intent.

“Devolving decision making to the appropriate level will allow us to improve public services across Gloucestershire and I hope government give us the chance to prove it.”

Cllr Lynden Stowe, leader of Cotswold District Council, said: “We welcome and support the proposal submitted to Government seeking more devolved powers to our local area.

“A key challenge over the next few years is how local and national public services collaborate in the face of substantial budget reductions to deliver the best possible outcomes for our residents and communities.

“I believe we can bring skills and experience to the table as a result of our extensive joint working and shared services developed over recent years.”

Cllr Geoff Wheeler, leader of Stroud District Council, said: “Bringing together the key public and decision making bodies in the county at a strategic level in such a way has tremendous potential.

We are Gloucestershire” will allow us to achieve more locally focused, better co-ordinated and ultimately better public services for the county. It will enable us to deliver more joined-up services for a secure and stronger economic future and generally improve the outlook for a healthier society.”

Cllr Patrick Molyneux, leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said: “We are pleased to be involved with the submission of the detailed bid.  We are hopeful for a successful outcome to benefit Gloucestershire.”

Cllr Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: “Devolution will give Gloucester more of a say in how our services are delivered and I’m pleased that the government has recognised our commitment to seeing this through.

“Gloucester is already on the up through regeneration and investment and I know that this bid will help us push that agenda even further.”

Cllr Robert Vines, leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council said “We remain strongly committed to working in partnership on this exciting opportunity and we wholeheartedly support Gloucestershire’s submission.

“Devolution will help us to deliver key priorities for the county, and will ensure we can continue to provide the best possible services for the residents and businesses of our borough.”

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The fact that the government is keen to hear more about our bid shows we’re on the right track with our proposals. I’m confident that our detailed submission will prove to Ministers that we’re serious about this.

“Our vision is for a much more unified Gloucestershire that delivers the right services for local people at the same time as putting Gloucestershire on the map economically.”

Dr Diane Savory OBE DL, Chair of GFirst LEP, said: “Gloucestershire is facing a fantastic opportunity – as devolution will give the county the best chance to successfully reach growth ambitions set out in the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

“Our push for additional freedoms and flexibilities will enable us to meet the key priorities for the county, and with the opportunity arising to lead business support and growth in Gloucestershire, we will be able to draw on the current strength of relationships between the Local Enterprise Partnership and Gloucestershire’s local businesses.”

Dr Helen Miller, Clinical Chair of NHS Gloucestershire CCG, said: “Purchasing and delivering high quality health and care in a county which has an ageing and a growing population is a real challenge.

“We are continually striving to improve the quality and safety of services available to the people of Gloucestershire, making care and support as accessible as possible while developing self-care and prevention with local communities. Improving health and wellbeing is reliant on a range of environmental, community and social factors.

“By building on the already close working relationships with our partners, devolution will enable us to combine our efforts and expertise and plan more effectively to meet the needs of our population.”

Both the statement of intent and the full bid is available to see at weareglos.com.

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