The Heart of the South West (HotSW) partnership consists of 23 organisations: 17 County, Unitary and District Councils, Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park Authorities, the HotSW Local Enterprise Partnership and 3 Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Since 2015 the partnership has been working on proposals to dramatically improve productivity and economic prosperity across the HotSW area. Working together the partners are certain that we will achieve our aims more effectively and quickly than by working alone.
From the outset our partnership has had discussions with Government about the possible benefits that devolution could bring to the HotSW area. The Government’s approach to devolution has changed over the 2015-18 period and the partnership has constantly adjusted its position on the subject to ensure continued discussions with Government and to get our voice heard. Devolution under the broadest definition can include devolution of functions and powers to local areas as well as less formal freedoms and flexibilities.
In January 2018 it was agreed to establish a HotSW Joint Committee to put the partnership onto a more formal footing and give it a status that was not possible as an informal arrangement. The Committee is a Joint Committee established under Sections 101 to 103 of the Local Government Act 1972 and all relevant enabling legislation. See the ‘Members’ section of the website for the current members.
The Joint Committee has agreed and published a HotSW Productivity Strategy (see ‘Publications’ to access a copy). This is a 20 year Strategy designed to deliver the ambitions of the Committee to improve productivity and economic prosperity. A Delivery Plan will contain the proposals and actions required to deliver the Strategy and will be overseen by the Committee.
The Joint Committee also provides a formal structure through which to hold discussions with Government under the heading of ‘devolution’ but which actually spans a wide range of policy areas including opportunities arising from the Brexit negotiations. We hope that opportunities arising from these discussions will help us to deliver programmes where we don’t currently have the structures and funding locally for this to happen.