Identified as a frontrunner for the next round of devolution deals by central government, Norfolk County Council is currently working through the proposal to assess whether it will help them as a rural county. Connectivity is a key priority - from roads to rail, public transport to broadband, the focus is on how it can support people to access opportunities within Norfolk or nearby.

What is Norfolk doing to level-up?

Utilising central government funding

Government have created several new funding streams aimed at meeting certain priorities. Norfolk is making use of a number of these, including the Towns Fund support for Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn, bids into the Government’s Levelling Up Fund and funding through the Community Renewal Fund and Shared Prosperity Fund. These funds will provide investment in a number of important local projects that will create jobs, create housing, support arts and culture activity and improve connectivity and sustainability.  

Exploring options for further devolution

Identified as a frontrunner for a new wave of devolution deals, Norfolk is actively negotiating its deal with government. Key aims for any deal include improving skills, attracting inward investment, raising living standards, providing more housing and supporting the move to net zero. As part of this, Norfolk County Council is focused on working with their district partners to ensure that what is delivered is best for Norfolk as a place.

Continuing with the business of the public sector

Given the fanfare around new initiatives it can be easy to forget the importance of ongoing day-to-day work. Work on areas such as wider economic development, addressing long term social care issues and wider transformation programmes is vital to create a sustainable platform for further interventions – especially in the context of the cost-of-living crisis.

How are we helping?

Making the case for devolution

Making the case for devolution

With the County Councils Network (CCN), we've helped the council work with government to build their cases for further powers.

Supporting new business

icon showing a building

We helped the council evaluate a transaction where they were asked to jointly fund development of a vertical farming business.

Financial health checks

Financial health checks

We provided an independent assessment of the financial and governance arrangements of the wholly owned traded companies of the Council.

What have we learned?

Devolution is not a silver bullet

Central government must recognise that while devolution may work in some areas, it will not be applicable to all. For those that want devolution, the deals must be flexible and come with enough financial support to ensure that the juice is worth the squeeze.

Local leaders must be realistic about what government can negotiate. Ambition must meet pragmatism, with a recognition that there is still value to be unlocked even if all goals cannot be met. Recent deals in Nottingham and Derbyshire provide good examples of success.

Economic growth requires investment

For a large rural county like Norfolk, place-based change and growth will require investment in infrastructure. To really maximise growth this investment needs to be proactive rather than reactive. Infrastructure needs to be delivered alongside the devolution of powers, planning reforms and Investment Zones in order to ensure that the impact of these reforms is maximised.

Why Grant Thornton

Our people are friendly, creative, and collaborative, and will work alongside your team to get to grips with the scale and nature of a particular challenge. We’ll appraise the benefits, costs, and risks of different solutions, as well as assess the impact of previous decisions. Our strong understanding of data, experience in the application of government methodologies and deep public sector expertise will guide you to make robust, evidence-based decisions.

Rob Turner

Rob Turner

Devolution: by no means a done deal

Government is clear that devolution is central to Levelling up, but is it right for every place?

Read our article, 'devolution: by no means a done deal'