The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is a corporate legal body that is intended to facilitate decision-making on a Greater Manchester basis, particularly in relation to large-scale strategic projects that are of importance to the whole region, like transport, regeneration and skills.
Each of the ten Greater Manchester councils has one seat on the GMCA, held by the council leader. The Mayor will join the GMCA as its chair and eleventh member.
The GMCA has monthly meetings which rotate around Greater Manchester’s ten districts. The meeting is live-streamed on the GMCA website.
Many functions will be exercised by the GMCA itself, rather than being exercised by the Mayor individually.
What they are responsible for
The Mayor and the GMCA will have responsibilities in various areas affecting aspects of life in Greater Manchester, such as policing, the fire service, transport, housing and further education.
What they are not responsible for
The Mayor and GMCA do not replace, nor can they overrule Greater Manchester’s ten district councils when the district councils are exercising their own functions.
The councils will continue to be directly responsible for many of Greater Manchester’s day-to-day services, like council housing, community schools, social services, rubbish collection, street cleaning, parking permits, council tax collection and birth, death and marriage certificates. The district councils will not lose any of their existing functions, although the GMCA will be able to exercise certain functions concurrently with the district councils.
Central government will continue to lead on welfare, most forms of taxation and many other areas.
Greater Manchester is the area made up of the council districts of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.
The region has formally existed for over forty years, but is built upon a history of centuries of close local ties between independent but interlinked towns and cities.
1974 saw this relationship formalised, with the creation of the Greater Manchester County Council (GMCC), which took on a number of strategic functions, alongside the ten districts.
In 1986, the GMCC was abolished, with most of its functions passing to the 10 district councils (although there were exceptions, such as waste disposal functions for the area of nine of the districts being passed to the newly created Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority). The region’s ten councils maintained their relationship through the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), which acted as a joint committee of the ten district councils in respect of certain functions operated on a Greater Manchester basis.
In 2009, an independent economic review of Greater Manchester highlighted the possibilities for greater collaboration. In response, AGMA investigated new ways to work together and solidify their relationship.
In 2011, this led to the creation of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), a corporate legal body with powers of its own. Over the following years, a number of devolution agreements were signed between Government and the GMCA, bringing new powers and responsibilities to the region, including over transport, further education, and health and social care.
In order to deliver these devolution agreements, it was decided that Greater Manchester should have an elected mayor to act as a directly elected point of accountability for the GMCA.