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North East devolution poll FAQs

Find a list of FAQS about the North east devolution poll.

Can I take part in the poll?

If you live in County Durham and were on the electoral register by 1 December 2015 you can take part in the poll. You will receive a letter between 13 and 19 January 2016 containing information, a questionnaire and details of how to respond.

Why are we having a poll?

We have a strong commitment to consultation and to understanding your views on key issues. All of the seven councils, including this one, which make up the North East Combined Authority, must decide whether they want to go ahead with the proposed devolution agreement. Each council is consulting people in their area and we are doing this by holding a poll.

What are you asking us about?

We are asking four questions so that we can find out what you think about devolution and the proposals for the North East. The questions have been developed by Durham University and focus on four different aspects of devolution.

What should I do if I haven't received my letter?

If you have not received your letter by Tuesday 19 January 2016 please contact us on 03000 26 0000.

What is the deadline for responses?

You must submit your response no later than 5.00pm on Monday 8 February. If you are sending your response by post then please allow at least three working days for your reply to reach us.

What will you do with the results?

The results will be reported to our full council meeting on 24 February 2016 so that councillors can consider your views. Although the results of the poll are not legally binding, your views will be used to guide us in deciding whether to accept the proposed devolution agreement.

Will the results be published?

The results will be included in a report to our full council meeting on 24 February 2016. The agenda for this meeting, which will include the results, will be published on our website, on Tuesday 16 February.

How much will the poll cost?

We expect the costs to be between £200,000 and £230,000.

Why is the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) involved?

This is a large poll of around 380,000 people. We are working with ERS as they are experts in this field. They carry out surveys for a range of organisations, including the recent housing stock options poll in County Durham. They are also independent and can provide analysis and feedback to us within a very short timescale.

Why is Durham University involved?

It is important that the poll is carried out in an independent and neutral way and we have therefore asked Durham University to prepare the information leaflet and questionnaire.

What is the North East Combined Authority?

The North East Combined Authority includes the seven local councils which represent County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland. It does not create a new tier of local government or replace individual councils. It brings together the knowledge and expertise from the seven councils and enables more effective collaboration on key regeneration and transport issues across council boundaries.

For more information visit the North East Combined Authority website.

What would devolution mean?

It would mean decisions which affect people across the area regarding issues such as roads, transport, the economy, and jobs and training opportunities would be made locally.

It would also bring an additional £30m a year to the region to help bolster the economy.

As part of the agreement there would also be the introduction of a regional elected mayor, who would chair the combined authority. The mayor would be elected in May 2017. 

How much will the mayor cost?

The cost of the new mayor's administration has not yet been calculated. However the proposed devolution agreement would bring into the North East an extra £30m a year. That would be spread across the whole North East area and is likely to include the costs of the new mayor's administration.

Why are we considering devolution of power to the North East?

The Government wants to devolve some powers and resources to the North East. That would mean more decisions about spending on public services would be made here, rather than by the government in London.

It is intended to help strengthen our economy and increase the number of jobs.

If we decide in County Durham not to be part of the agreement will it go ahead without us?

If in County Durham we decide not be part of this agreement, the other six councils may go ahead anyway and we would need to leave the combined authority.

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