Devolution is the transfer of certain powers and responsibilities from national government to a particular geographical region. Putting power into the hands of local decision-makers means they can better meet the needs of the people who live and work in their region.
Greater Manchester is the first region in England to benefit from this transfer of power away from national government to local decision-makers.
In November 2014, an historic agreement was signed with the government to give Greater Manchester new powers over transport, housing, planning and policing – via a directly elected region-wide Mayor, the first such post outside London. The new Mayor will be elected by the public in May 2017 and will lead the Greater Manchester Combined Authority – representing the 10 local councils across the region.
A ‘new era for Greater Manchester’ started on 1 April 2016, as the region became the first in the country to take control of its combined health and social care budgets – a sum of more than £6 billion.
It means that – for the first time – leaders and clinicians will be able to tailor budgets and priorities to directly meet the needs of local communities and improve the health and wellbeing of the 2.8million residents.
It presents health officials with a unique opportunity to tackle some of the poor health inequalities that currently blight the region and the past year has seen politicians, councillors and senior health officials work in partnership to establish a system of governance that will allow Greater Manchester to prosper.
Greater Manchester has also received £450million in additional transformation funding to support developments to the system, outlined in December 2015 when we revealed a five-year vision for services across Greater Manchester, underpinned by four key long-term goals:
These priorities are underway and continue to be shaped as health officials respond to what local people want; using their experience and expertise to help change the way we spend the money.
A top priority will be to tackle some of the worst health outcomes in the country.
For example, more than two thirds of early deaths in GM are caused by behaviours which could be changed, while nearly 25% of the GM population have a mental health or wellbeing issue which can affect everything from health to employment, parenting and housing. This has to change.
We know from our Taking Charge Together campaign that there is an appetite for change, with over 90% of Greater Manchester residents keen to improve their health and wellbeing.
Our ambitious five-year plans support this changing attitude and will establish a new relationship between public services, citizens, communities and businesses to bring a change in approach to health and wellbeing, both at home and in the workplace.
To find out more about what devolution means for Greater Manchester, visit Greater Manchester Combined Authority.