England & Wales Democracy, devolution and governance

What is a Combined Authority?


Photo by Andrew Wulf on Unsplash

A combined authority is what it sounds like, an institution based on a group of councils coming together to make decisions on policy areas that affect them all, such as transport between local authorities, or regional business policies.

They were introduced under the coalition government, and can come into force when a group of councils agree a devolution deal with central government. The more powerful combined authorities have a mayor, who is directly elected to lead the combined authority.

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As we can see from the map below, not everywhere is in a combined authority area, and a few of them don’t have elections this year. As the IFG has noted, including London (which we have separated as a special case), more than half the people in the UK now live in combined authority areas.



Looking for more information about how local government in England is structured? Check out our facts and figures page here. LGIU members can access our exclusive briefing on the potential of combined authorities

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