WMCA bulletin 11th May 2017

Thursday 11th of May 2017 04:21 PM

Andy Street elected first WMCA Mayor

West Midlands' residents answered the call to be part of history in last Thursday's (May 4) election to vote for the region's inaugural mayor.

Conservative Party candidate Andy Street was declared the winner following Friday's (May 5) count at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena, securing victory over the Labour and Co-operative Party's Sion Simon in the second count by 238,628 votes to 234,862.

The other candidates results were:

  • Beverley Nielsen (Liberal Democrat) – 30,378
  • Pete Durnell (UK Independence Party) – 29,051
  • James Burn (Green Party) – 24,260
  • Graham Stevenson (Communist Party) – 5,696

The turnout in the West Midlands was 26.68%, just 3.19% less than the average turnout for the previous local elections, with the region having the smallest gap between normal turnout for a council election and the mayoral election. Manchester was down 6.98%, Liverpool (down 4.51%), Teeside (down 17.91%), West of England (down 14.68%) and Cambridge and Peterborough (down 8.73%). At a local level Solihull recorded a particularly good turnout - nearly 2% higher than the local elections.

There was significant media coverage to encourage engagement in the mayoral election campaign. Between October 2016 and the beginning of this week there were 321 articles in the printed media, 159 stories on broadcast media and 486-mayoral related articles on the internet.

We saw huge interest on our social media, with even The Times advising people to follow us during the count. Our Twitter account gained 419 new Followers during the day (a 9.4% increase) and the live stream of the results saw some 3,500 people join us for the announcements. During the campaign more than 160 messages went out on Twitter and Facebook, reaching over 400,000 social media users, in addition to the social marketing campaign activity.

The Mayor, together with his Chief of Staff Andrew Browning, PR and Media Officer Mat Danks and PA Natalie Zari will be based at the WMCA headquarters in Summer Lane, Birmingham. The team will have additional meeting space at the city's Baskerville House and satellite bases in Coventry and Wolverhampton.

They will be helping deliver the Mayor's manifesto and milestones to achieve during the first 100 days in office.

Please direct any enquiries for the Mayor to: Mayor.Events@wmca.org.uk

Postal correspondence should be directed to: Mayor of the WMCA, 16 Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD.


Productivity and Skills Commission call for evidence

The WMCA Productivity and Skills Commission recently launched its Call for Evidence aimed at the business, education and public sectors to submit their views on what the current challenges and gaps are in terms of productivity and skills in the region.

Call for Evidence submissions should be emailed to productivityandskills@wmca.org.uk

The closing date for receipt of written evidence is May 31, 2017. For more information please visit the WMCA website here.


General election purdah reminder

Following the snap general election called by Prime Minister Theresa May for Thursday, June 8, purdah rules are once again being applied.

As with the West Midlands mayoral elections, the period of purdah prevents public bodies from taking part in any activities which could be perceived as party political. We are now in an extended period of purdah which began on Friday, April 21 and will run until the polls close on election day.


Channel 4

The WMCA is pursuing an exciting opportunity for the region to be the new base of Channel 4, as the Government invites applications from across the UK for the potential relocation of the broadcaster from London.

Last month, Westminster launched a consultation 'Increasing the Regional Impact of Channel 4 Corporation,' seeking responses to a series of questions about the possible future of the company.

A proposal to carry out a feasibility study outlining the benefits both to Channel 4 and the region is due to go before the WMCA Board tomorrow (Friday, May 5). 


Walking out of Darkness a success

Some 800 people joined up for the West Midlands Walking Out Of Darkness event last Saturday – walking and talking together to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.

Campaigners Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn compered the event, with some inspirational speakers including ex-professional footballer and former Chair of the Professional Footballers' Association Clarke Carlisle, who is also Chair of Kaleidoscope Plus Group, and Steve Gilbert, living experience consultant to the West Midlands Mental Health Commission’s Thrive programme.

WMCA supported this first event in the region, along with partner organisations from the charity and business sector – Kaleidoscope Group Plus and Legal & General. The walk followed a route along Birmingham’s canal towpaths, culminating in a festival of mental health and well-being at Cannon Hill Park.


Mental Health Awareness Week

As we mark this year’s UK Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s worth reminding ourselves of some stark statistics which illustrate why things must change and why our Mental Health Commission’s work is so important:

  • One in 10 children aged five to 16 has a mental health problem
  • Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 49
  • One in five mothers suffers from depression, anxiety or psychosis during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth
  • People from black, Asian, minority ethnic communities and other minority groups are at higher risk of mental ill-health and less likely to find support
  • Almost 50% of all ill-health among under 65s is mental illness
  • Nine out of 10 people in prison have a mental health, drug or alcohol problem
  • Three out of four people with mental health problems receive no support
  • People with severe mental illness die around 20 years earlier

 WMCA's Thrive programme is supporting several events, jointly hosting award-winning film From Noya tonight (May 11) in collaboration with Birmingham City University and promoting two exhibitions at the mac.



  • Today (Thursday, May 11), senior WMCA officers including Martin Reeves, Jan Britton and Superintendent Sean Russell spoke at a West Midlands Women’s Voice (WMWV) breakfast event in Birmingham. WMWV consists of women who have come together to support WMCA, set an agenda for economic growth and improved social welfare and to promote the role of females in the new political and economic environment.
  • There was WMCA representation at an event this week organised by Learning and Work UK and Centre for Cities to discuss the skills agenda and devolution.


Future meetings schedule

WMCA Programme Board (Non-public meeting) 

  • Friday 12 May 9.30-11am
  • Friday 26 May 9-11am
  • Friday 9 June 9-11am
  • Friday 23 June 9-11am
  • Friday 7 July 9-11am
  • Friday 28 July 9-11am

WMCA Board (Public meeting)

  • Friday 12 May 11am-1pm
  • Friday 9 June 11am-1pm
  • Friday 23 June 11am-1pm *
  • Friday 21 July 11am-1pm
  • Friday 11 August 11am-1pm (provisional, if required)
  • Friday 8 September 11am-1pm

* Please note that this is the rearranged date for the WMCA Board’s AGM which was postponed until after the General Election.


Contact details

For more information or to send content for the next WMCA news bulletin, please contact:

Matthew Finn
PR Executive, West Midlands Combined Authority
0121 214 7157

Follow us on twitter @WestMids_CA


Category: Announcements