Getting the right devolution deal for the people of Barnsley has always been our priority.

The residents and businesses of Barnsley have clearly stated that they want the broadest possible Yorkshire footprint for devolution. We’ve worked tirelessly with other Yorkshire leaders, local people and businesses to make the government understand the positive impact that a wider Yorkshire deal could bring to our region and the country.

Yorkshire leaders recognise that a stepped approach may be required to achieve this through the establishment of a Yorkshire Committee (as proposed by the Prime Minister). This committee would provide strategic coordination across the region, supported by a number of interim funding arrangements at the sub-regional level.

The government have confirmed that they will work with Yorkshire councils to establish a Yorkshire Committee on the basis that the South Yorkshire devolution deal is brought to a positive conclusion, with Barnsley and Doncaster having the opportunity to join any full Yorkshire devolution at a future date.

We plan to continue to be part of the South Yorkshire devolution deal on an interim basis, allowing us to progress with unlocking significant opportunities and investment for Barnsley and South Yorkshire.

Our goal is to be part of a wider Yorkshire devolution deal in the future, and we’re committed to making the Yorkshire committee a success.

Yorkshire devolution deal

The proposals for a Yorkshire deal are about transferring more powers from Whitehall to Yorkshire, giving local people much greater say over the issues that affect them, providing more investment in those areas that will make the biggest difference to the region’s economy, businesses and people, and enabling Yorkshire to play its full part in driving growth and productivity after Brexit.

The benefits of a Yorkshire devolution deal for the region, and for the UK, could be huge. A Yorkshire devolution deal would see the creation of a directly elected mayor, who would oversee the historic transfer of powers and funding to the region. This is one of government’s key requirements for devolution proposals, along with ensuring proposals refer to coherent economic geography and have local support – both of which the Yorkshire devolution deal has.

Devolution updates

  • In March 2018, a document setting out the vision for a One Yorkshire devolution agreement, including the creation of a Mayor of Yorkshire, was submitted to the government.

  • In October 2018, Yorkshire leaders presented government with an executive summary and full report on the economic rationale for a One Yorkshire devolution agreement.

  • In January 2020, Yorkshire leaders were unanimous in reiterating their desire to secure a Yorkshire Devolution deal. Following that meeting discussions have taken place between South Yorkshire and the government and agreement has been reached that the government will continue work with Yorkshire councils to establish a Yorkshire Committee on the basis that the South Yorkshire devolution deal is brought to a positive conclusion, with Barnsley and Doncaster having the opportunity to join any full Yorkshire devolution at a future date. Read the announcement on devolution follow-up from Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Leader of Barnsley Council.

  • Having your say on devolution in South Yorkshire 

    You can get involved and tell us your views on the proposals to implement the South Yorkshire devolution deal before the consultation closes at 23.59 on Sunday 15 March 2020. To help us develop our ideas we have undertaken a detailed review. These are set out in detail in our Governance Review and Scheme.

Community poll - December 2017

We asked local people for their views on the right devolution deal for Barnsley. 

We held a community poll in December 2017 asking every registered voter in Barnsley to say which devolution proposal they would prefer Barnsley to pursue. The poll closed on 20 December 2017.

Results of community poll


Number of votes

Percentage of valid votes

Wider Yorkshire



Sheffield City Region



  • Number of eligible voters: 179,618

  • Turnout: 22.4%

  • Total number of votes cast: 40,280

  • Total number of valid votes to be counted: 40,079
    • Votes cast by post: 32,968
    • Votes cast online: 7312

  • Number of votes found to be invalid: 201
    • Blank: 185
    • Spoilt (uncertain or voting for more than one option): 16

What is devolution?

Government is offering places in England the chance to have more responsibility and control over decisions that affect their areas. It’s not about taking away powers from councils. This would mean that more decisions about spending on public services would be made here, rather than by the government in London. It could also help to strengthen our economy and increase the number of jobs.

What are the benefits of devolution for Barnsley?

Devolution will bring benefits to Barnsley in a number of key areas:

  • more money invested in our area
  • better places to live, learn, work and do business
  • better roads and public transport
  • more help for businesses to start and to grow
  • better education and skills
  • more and better jobs.

Devolution will bring new powers and funding to Barnsley to improve infrastructure, transport, skills, housing and business growth. Working together with other local towns and cities, we can speak with one voice nationally and make better decisions about important economic growth.

Wider Yorkshire devolution

This is a partnership with the backing of at least 15 local authority areas. It’s a much larger model that places it alongside the likes of Greater Manchester City Region and the West Midlands. The region has 5.3 million residents living and working in a geographical area seven times larger than Greater London, with an economy worth £110 billion per year.

This option hopes to extend the benefits of devolution by pursuing a wider model with Yorkshire. It intends to give Yorkshire a louder and more powerful voice to lobby government on behalf of our economy and people.

This proposal would be much larger than the Sheffield City Region proposal. It would mean greater powers transferred from government, although the precise scope of these powers has yet to be determined.

The elected mayor would be on a par with the recently elected mayors of Greater Manchester or the West Midlands. The mayor would be able to delegate some decision making powers to a more local level.

Although the precise amount has to be confirmed, this proposal is looking to unlock £3 billion over the next 30 years to spend in the region for:

  • transport
  • infrastructure
  • training
  • skills
  • housing
  • regeneration

Find out more

You'll find more information about devolution below:

Devolution BSL video

Questions and answers

What was the community poll?

It was a public consultation where people are asked to give their opinion on which devolution deal Barnsley should actively support.

Why was there a community poll?

Your views on which devolution path you want to see delivered are important to us – a wider Yorkshire devolution deal or to continue with the devolution plan for the Sheffield City Region.

Why did you ask us?

Devolution is a pressing issue and one that has been in the news over the last few months. We want to support the best deal for Barnsley people, our communities and business. To do this, a community poll was a single way to gauge opinion. Everyone who is registered to vote in the borough has the opportunity to indicate which option they would prefer the council to pursue.

How was the community poll held?

Postal voting papers were sent to the household of each registered voter. Votes were completed securely online or returned via freepost. There was no polling stations.

The question the poll will asked was:

I would prefer Barnsley Council to pursue a devolution proposal with:
(a) wider Yorkshire
(b) Sheffield City Region

When was the community poll be held?

Ballot packs were posted on 1 December 2017. Voting closed on 20 December 2017. The results were announced on 21 December 2017.

How much did this cost?

We wanted to keep the costs as low as possible which is why the vote was postal and online only. 

While this is a notable one-off cost, it represented a small proportion of Barnsley’s annual gross budget and was considered to be a proportionate expenditure in order to gauge the views of local residents on this important issue.

Did the council act on the proposed community poll result?

A community poll is not the same as an election and it is not legally binding. However, our resident's voted for a wider Yorkshire deal and we're actively pursuing this.