1. The bids so far and mapping out our challenges
Our most recent research report for Business South looked at the challenges and opportunities in central southern England – incorporating some great maps from OS – and analysed the bids so far as well as the government’s own proposals. This assessment was compared to the views of key business leaders in the region who we interviewed about their priorities for devolution.
2. The citizens’ voice
Over October and November we were involved in a Democracy Matters project, holding a citizens’ assembly in the Solent area of Hampshire. Local citizens and councillors deliberated on devolution options for Hampshire and Isle of Wight.
- Citizens at this ground-breaking initiative strongly endorsed the idea that any new devolved body should cover the Hampshire and the Isle of Wight area (rather than the SE or Solent)
- Health and social care integration should be the most important priority for the body, followed by public transport, business support and housing investment
- Participants were evenly split on whether they support the devolution proposal currently being negotiated with government
- Citizens want far greater public involvement in Hampshire devolution deal being proposed, and pledge to stay involved in the process, in bid to ‘democratise devolution
3. Lessons from Manchester
We were privileged to host Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, in Winchester to discuss the Greater Manchester Combined Authority deal, and how they got there.
We’ve outlined five key lessons from the Devo-Manc experience here.