Greater Manchester is leading the way on the devolution of powers and budgets from national government. The aim of devolution is to enable more local decision making, which will lead to greater benefits for people and communities. The fourth and latest devolution agreement (link below) was published in March 2016 and included new responsibilities for Greater Manchester including criminal justice, adult skills provision and a 100% business rate retention pilot project. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority website has further information on the new powers and the priorities of the “Devo Manc” agenda.
In partnership with other voluntary, community and social enterprise sector leaders, 10GM is a member of the Greater Manchester VCSE Devolution Reference Group. This group came together from a range of conversations during 2015 and is seeking to promote involvement of the VCSE sector in devolution as it evolves. The group has stated its ambition for devolution is “eradicating inequality within a generation” and has agreed a number of objectives:
• Champion VCSE engagement in devolution across Greater Manchester by promoting the vital role the sector plays in working towards a more equal society
• Act as a point of contact for those working within Greater Manchester devolution and Greater Manchester’s VCSE sector
• Share information and opportunities, operate transparently and think beyond individual organisations
• Promote positive change and collaboration within the VCSE sector through devolution
• Create a social movement for change that empowers the communities of Greater Manchester
The secretariat lead for the group is Voluntary Sector North West. Their website contains a briefing on the work done so far: https://www.vsnw.org.uk/our-work/devolution/greater-manchester
You can download an information sheet including the GM VCSE Reference Group’s objectives and a full list of members here: GM VCSE Reference Group 01-11-17
The Reference Group considers all aspects of devolution and has contributed to discussions and policy work on topics such as transport, inclusive economic growth, leadership and the broad public service reform agenda. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, it is the health and social care agenda which has been the focus of a great deal of attention, not least because so much of the sector’s work is relevant to health and wellbeing. However, the Reference Group is also committed to influencing work to make the economy (and economic policy) of Greater Manchester more inclusive and will soon be launching our work on “inclusive economy”.