Levelling Up Missions and the West Midlands Outcomes Framework
Levelling Up Missions
The government’s Levelling Up White Paper includes 12 ‘Levelling Up Missions’, which are the medium-term ambitions of the government for all parts of the UK. They are designed to focus energy and action across central and local government, as well as in businesses and civil society.
The Government’s 12 Missions:
- Living Standards
- Research and Development
- Digital Connectivity
- Pride in Place
- Local Leadership
The 12 missions provide consistency and clarity about how the levelling up agenda is progressing. The government is taking on a statutory responsibility to provide an annual report on its progress in addressing them, but they’re also seeking to develop a ‘framework’ to hold mayoral combined authorities to account.
The Importance of Data
To measure progress on levelling up – nationally, regionally, or locally – it’s vital that we have the right data. However, there is a lack of quality and accessibility of local data, and there are big gaps in what data is gathered and how it’s shared.
The government has committed to a new subnational data strategy, and a special Spatial Data Unit to work with local and regional authorities to improve things through an online platform.
In the West Midlands we’re ready to go further and faster. We’ll bring together the WMCA, local authorities and other public agencies, universities and our growing tech sector to build a better regional data ecosystem.
Going further and faster with data:
- Give WMCA the same status on data access rights as a top tier authority;
- Develop a HM Government – WMCA Data Agreement with commitments to data access and standards for data sharing and its use;
- Build professional development pathways to empower local and regional data users;
- To consider locating the new independent local data body in the West Midlands;
- Greater clarity over national standards on data ethics and information assurance to allow the West Midlands to become a leader in this field.
The West Midlands Outcome Framework (WMOF)
Each year the ‘State of The Region’ report gives us a snapshot of economic progress in the West Midlands. This includes indicators which act as an evidence base to support programme development. The WMCA has also developed an Inclusive Growth Framework which has a range of quantitative and qualitative metrics which tell us how well the benefits of economic growth are being shared.
We’re working with government to combine our existing approaches into a new West Midlands Outcomes Framework (WMOF).
The WMOF contains 24 headline indicators across 8 different themes, and these will provide the basis for regional partners to assess their progress in terms of levelling up. Many of them link to the government’s Levelling Up Missions, but taken together they add local colour and precision to the government’s approach.
The draft WMOF is set out as an annex at the end of this report.
The WMOF will give all regional partners the metrics to judge their efforts by, but it will also provide an important means by which the mayor and local authority leaders can be held to account.
There are already a range of ways in which the mayor and combined authority are held accountable — through performance reporting, especially to funders, through its various thematic boards and scrutiny panels, through Mayor’s Question Time and other public forums, and ultimately, by the general public at the ballot box.