Management tweaks raise cost concerns

Lisa Nandy
Lisa Nandy

AN overhaul of the region’s combined authority costing millions of pounds is “unacceptable” according to Wigan’s MP Lisa Nandy.

Reports suggest Greater Manchester will appoint a dedicated chief executive as part of a re-shuffle triggered by the Devo Manc agreement.

To ensure it can cope with the added responsibility that devolution will bring, GMCA has outlined plans costing £13.8m.

A large chunk of the outlay will be covered by a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government but Ms Nandy has questioned the lack of public consultation and the sums of public money being spent.

The revamped GMCA would also need specialised staff working under the new chief executive role.

Ms Nandy said: “Before spending millions of pounds of our money to appoint officials, without any proper democratic oversight or accountability, the GMCA should be asking people what their priorities are for their local communities.

“We keep hearing that this is a deal to devolve power to the people but so far nobody has asked the people what they want from this deal or if they are happy with an un-elected mayor or huge sums of public money to be spent on more bureaucrats.”

Speaking to the Local Government Chronicle, Wigan Council leader and current chair of GMCA, Lord Smith said “the bigger you get, you need a proper administration to do it effectively.” But added a bureaucracy would not be created.

Ms Nandy added: “At a time when communities in Wigan are struggling it is completely unacceptable to spend £13m of our money on appointing staff without any right of reply for the public. We need real devolution, not more bureaucrats.”