Mayoral Combined Authorities - what do they mean for the VCSE sector?

Author: Amy Coates

With the recent North East Mayoral elections bringing new powers to the North East, our most recent Gold and Silver CEO peer network was the perfect opportunity to focus on VCSE engagement with the Mayoral Combined Authorities, both the newly established North East Combined Authority and the established Tees Valley Combined Authority. 

Warren Escadale, Chief Executive of Voluntary Sector North West (VSNW), joined us to share their experience of working with the Mayoral Combined Authorities in the North West – Greater Manchester and Liverpool - over the last 10 years. Read his presentation here. 

The starting point for VSNW’s work with the Combined Authorities was to ask three questions of the VCSE sector: 

  1. What is your vision for your community in 20 years? 
  1. What is the biggest barrier to that happening? 
  1. What will you do to make that vision a reality? 

From there they worked with leaders from the North West VCSE sector to shape their approach, and the structures in each Combined Authority to ensure the sector had a meaningful voice in conversations. They also presented asks on behalf of the sector, much like the Inclusive Economy Manifesto in our region. 

Warren shared that one of the biggest challenges they faced was how to represent the VCSE sector where it is so diverse. A key approach was establishing a board of VCSE leaders to ensure strong collective conversations with Combined Authorities and underline the variety of organisations being represented.  

A similar structure is emerging from the early stages of VONNE and NECA area Local Infrastructure Organisations (LIO’s) work with the North East Combined Authority. A NECA VCSE Leadership Board is being established, aiming to be underpinned by a VCSE Assembly to ensure a broad collective VCSE voice in engaging with NECA, including VCSE representation within the Cabinet and the various NECA portfolio Boards.   

In the south of the region positive progress is also being made with the Tees Valley Combined Authority, where the sector is in discussions with the re-elected Mayor about a seat on the Business Board in addition to established representation within other work programme thematic groups. As conversations develop with the Combined Authorities in the North East, we’ll keep you updated. 

Our CEO peer network events happen every two months and are a benefit of our Gold and Silver Membership+ packages. If you’d like to join, full details are on our website. If you’re the CEO of a Gold or Silver Membership+ organisation and haven’t seen the invitations, email us and we’ll make sure you’re on the list.