The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (the LCRCA) was established on 1 April 2014 by the Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority Order 2014 (the Order).

The LCRCA has six constituent councils: Halton Borough Council, Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Liverpool City Council, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council, St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council, and Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council (the Constituent Councils).

The LCRCA is chaired by the Liverpool City Region Mayor (the LCR Mayor). The current LCR Mayor is Steve Rotheram (in office since 5 May 2017). The election of the LCR Mayor is provided for by The Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority (Election of Mayor) Order 2016 No. 782.

The Order confers on the LCRCA powers covering, transport, economic development and regeneration. It was amended by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (Functions and Amendment) Order 2017 No. 430 (the Amendment Order), which confers powers on the LCRCA and the LCR Mayor for planning, transport and housing.

Powers

Transport

The Order (under Articles 5, 10 and 11):

  • Abolished the Merseyside Passenger Transport Authority and transferred its functions to the LCRCA
  • Makes the Passenger Transport Executive an executive body of the LCRCA
  • Delegates to the LCRCA certain highways powers of the Constituent Councils, for instance to enter into highways agreements (under section 8 of the Highways Act 1980).

The Amendment Order confers further transport powers on the LCRCA, for instance to pay a grant for the purposes of transport (under section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003), and to regulate traffic (under section 1 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984).

The LCRCA's transport costs may be met by it issuing levies on the Constituent Councils (Article 5(4) of the Order).

The Amendment Order confers on the Combined Authority functions corresponding to the spatial development strategy function that the Mayor of London has in relation to Greater London (under section 334 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999).

Economic development and regeneration

The Order (under Article 13 and Schedule 2) confers on the LCRCA certain economic development and regeneration powers, exercisable concurrently with the Constituent Councils.

The LCRCA may exercise such functions of the Constituent Councils as are exercisable for the purpose of economic development and regeneration in reliance on the general power of competence (under section 1 of the Localism Act 2011).

Under the Order, the LCRCA has a power to encourage visitors to its area (under section 144 of the Local Government Act 1972), and a duty to consider housing need with respect to the provision of housing (under section 8 of the Housing Act 1985).

  • Confers on the Combined Authority functions in relation to housing and regeneration which are exercised concurrently with the Homes and Communities Agency (under section 5 to 12 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008), and powers to acquire or appropriate land for planning and public purposes (under section 226 and other provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990)
  • Provides that the Combined Authority is to have in relation to its area functions corresponding to the functions that the Mayor of London has in relation to mayoral development areas and mayoral development corporations (under section 197 and other provisions of the Localism Act 2011)
  • Provides that any designation of a mayoral development area by the Combined Authority requires the consent of a member of the Combined Authority who is an elected member of a Constituent Council whose council area contains any part of the area to be designated as a mayoral development area.

Other powers

The LCRCA has certain powers direct from primary legislation, for example in relation to bus services (such bus franchising powers under the Transport Act 2000 as amended by the Bus Services Act 2017).

The constitution

Each of the Constituent Councils may nominate one of its members to be a member of the LCRCA, and the Local Enterprise Partnership may also nominate one of its members to be the same (see Schedule 1 to the Order).

No meeting of the LCRCA shall be quorate unless at least four members appointed by the Constituent Councils are present. Each member has one vote, and no member has a casting vote. If a vote is tied on any matter, the matter is deemed not to have been carried. Certain matters require a unanimous vote in favour by all members appointed by the Constituent Councils, including such matters as the LCRCA may determine and set out in its standing orders (see Schedule 1 to the Order).

The amount of any levy to be issued to the Constituent Councils must be decided by a majority of the members appointed by the Constituent Councils who are present and voting (see Schedule 1 to the Order).

The Amendment Order's Article 19 specifies the powers that are exercisable only by the LCR Mayor, for instance in relation to local transport plans and compulsory acquisition, subject to certain consents required from the LCRCA's constituent council member for the relevant local area.