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Devolution: Shadow Combined Authority agrees top team

The Shadow Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough met for the second time last week (January 31) as more formal plans are put in place for the creation of the new body in the spring.

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Current interim Chairman Steve Count started proceedings by announcing his intention to stand down from the position to concentrate on his role as leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, and Robin Howe, Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council was duly appointed as his replacement.

Portfolio holders for the new Combined Authority were also ratified at the meeting, with Cllr Steve Count taking Public Service Reform, Cllr John Clark taking Economic Growth including Business Support, Cllr Lewis Herbert overseeing Communities, Cllr John Holdich taking on Skills and Training, Cllr Robin Howe taking on Fiscal as well as the Chairman role, Cllr James Palmer taking Transport and Infrastructure and Cllr Peter Topping taking Housing.

Current East Cambridgeshire District Council Chief Executive, John Hill was appointed the Combined Authority Returning Officer for the Mayoral elections on May 4.

The forward calendar of future meetings was also agreed at the meeting, subject to the Parliamentary Order to ratify the Combined Authority being officially signed mid-March.

Councillor Robin Howe, now Interim Chair of the Shadow Combined Authority, said: "Today's meeting was about getting some of the detail finalised and we're very pleased to have confirmed the portfolio holders and the Returning Officer. We expect the Order to be signed by the Minister on March 13 which formally constitutes the Combined Authority and we're looking forward to getting started and bringing real change to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough."

The 'Shadow' Combined Authority has been set up to drive forward the creation of the official Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which includes a councillor from each of the local councils and a representative from the GCGP LEP.

The creation of this body was an important part of the deal which was agreed by all seven involved Local Authorities, and which serves to ensure that democratically elected representatives of local communities are making decisions about how and where the money is spent.

The seven councils involved in the devolution decision for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Peterborough City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Article added February 6, 2017