August is typically a quiet month for District Councils, however there have been some important issues to work through this year, the most prevalent of which has been a discussion over Combined Authorities.
As part of the Governments plans to devolve power away from Westminster, local authorities are being encouraged to form a Combined Authority with the purpose of promoting economic growth on a sub-region basis by addressing issues including transport, skills and economic prosperity.
Combined Authorities increasingly became the body of choice for devolution of power and funding from Government in the last Parliament and the new Government have announced that it intends to pursue economic growth through devolution.
The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill as been published to assist with the process and is currently being passed through Parliament.
At Full Council on the 1st September there was unanimous support for Stratford District Council to sit as an observer to the newly formed Shadow Board of the West Midlands Combined Authority whilst continuing to explore alternative options that would reflect the districts rural and small town heritage.
It is important to note that Combined Authorities are not designed to replace existing authorities. All member councils will continue to deliver local services and retain civic responsibility for their areas.