BIG DECISIONS are set to be made by the West of England partnership after central government officially approved the devolution deal.

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA), consisting of South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), will hold their first public meeting from 1.30pm to 3.30pm on Wednesday, March 1 at the Watershed in Bristol.

Among the powers that the authority will have are to make decisions on issues including transport, housing, adult education and skills, with funding and responsibilities being handed directly from central government.

Members of the public will be voting on May 4 to appoint the new metro mayor, who will chair the authority, whose membership includes Cllr Matthew Riddle, leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees and BANES leader Cllr Tim Warren.

At the first meeting, the group will be taking decisions to enable the WECA to begin functioning, including agreeing the new organisation’s constitution, the statutory officer posts and the nominations for scrutiny and audit committees.

Cllrs Riddle and Warren and Mr Rees said:  “The WECA has been established to deliver a devolution deal which unlocks a billion pounds of funding for the area, helping us to further tackle priorities such as improving transport infrastructure, delivering affordable homes and investing in the skills training needed for the local economy.

“It is now our task to ensure we establish robust systems - including scrutiny and audit - that can help ensure the benefits of the deal can be used effectively within the region. We will also plan ahead to secure even greater opportunities offered by future devolution deals.”

Members of the public will be given the opportunity at the meeting to ask questions. These must be submitted in writing before 5pm on Thursday, February 23, with any petitions or statements needing to be in by 12pm on Tuesday, February 28. These can all be sent to

Details of the meeting, which will be broadcast live online - including agenda, reports and venue - will be published online at