Robin Fry provides an update on the North of Tyne Combined Authority…
Last month, along with my counterparts in Newcastle and Northumberland, I met with officers from the new North of Tyne Combined Authority. During the meeting we received an update on progress made so far and began to explore how the voluntary and community sector can be most appropriately involved.
Those of you who attended the most recent stakeholder event will have heard various politicians acknowledging the importance of engaging with the sector. I was particularly pleased to hear the new interim North of Tyne Mayor, Norma Redfearn, speaking so passionately about what the sector can offer.
Although the Combined Authority is now in existence, most of the work programme work will not commence until after the Mayoral elections in May 2019. In the meantime an ‘Economic Vision’ has been published on the North of Tyne website, setting out some key priorities. This document does not make any reference to our sector – something we are keen to address.
The ‘Inclusive Economy’ agenda is fundamental to the North of Tyne combined authority and will consist of specific programmes of work but it will also be a cross-cutting theme across other areas of work. The Inclusive Economy Board is where we see a key role for VCS representation and a commitment has been made to ensure this will happen. The Combined Authority has also committed to having a ‘VCS Ambassador’ who will attend Cabinet meetings in an advisory capacity.
In order to move these promising conversations forward we have agreed to hold VCS events in North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland, each with the same format and content. The purpose of the events will be to bring VCS organisations up to speed with devolution progress and discuss how the sector can most effectively be involved.
VODA will be hosting the North Tyneside VCS event on Tuesday 12 March from 9.30am to 12 noon, on place of our regular Working with the VCS Event, at the Linskill Centre, North Shields. Booking details will be shared on our website and social media channels. Please do get in touch if you require any further details.