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What does the Greater Manchester Combined Authority do?

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority is a legal body which allows the Greater Manchester Councils and the Mayor to formally cooperate with each other and partners on large-scale strategic projects that are of importance to the whole region, like transport, regeneration, skills, public services, fire, policing, business and low carbon initiatives. 

The nine council leaders and Salford’s City Mayor, as well as leading their own councils, are members of the GMCA with the elected Mayor of Greater Manchester its eleventh member. Together they take decisions as GMCA. Leaders of the nine councils continue to be held accountable through normal local elections (with the City Mayor in Salford being directly elected). 

The GMCA has monthly meetings which rotate around Greater Manchester’s ten districts. The meetings are live-streamed on the GMCA website and chaired by the elected Mayor. 

The GMCA also has powers and responsibilities, separate to those held by the Mayor individually. 

Health and Care

The GMCA, the NHS, local authorities and other organisations make up Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, and control Greater Manchester’s £6 billion health and social care budget. 

In 2022, a new Integrated Care Partnership replaced the Health and Social Care Partnership.  

The system is designed to improve health outcomes for all Greater Manchester residents and reduce health inequalities. 

Individually, the Mayor is not responsible for any aspect of health and social care in Greater Manchester. 


The GMCA is the Integrated Transport Authority for Greater Manchester. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) works on behalf of the GMCA to maintain and upgrade many of the region’s transport links, including Metrolink. 

Planning and Housing

The GMCA has a statutory function to produce a Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) which is a plan that covers the whole of the city-region.  The duty is exercisable by the Mayor and requires the unanimous support of all members of the GMCA. 

The GMCA has functions in relation to housing and regeneration which are exercised concurrently with the Homes and Communities Agency. The power to acquire land under these powers is exercisable by the Mayor, and requires the consent of the Council whose area contains any part of the land subject to the proposed compulsory acquisition. 

The GMCA is undertaking work in the cities and towns that make up Greater Manchester to free up land to allow new homes to be built, revitalise town centres and tackle empty homes, including the use of the £300 million Greater Manchester Housing Investment Fund. 

Business and Investment

The GMCA wants to help more people set up new businesses in Greater Manchester and develop existing ones. To do this, it invests in local businesses and offers advice and guidance to business owners to help their companies grow. The GMCA works in partnership with the Greater Manchester Business Board (formerly known as the Local Enterprise Partnership) which brings together private and public sectors to support strategic investment in business growth.  

Low Carbon and Energy Efficiency

Greater Manchester has set out a detailed pathway for the energy infrastructure changes needed across the city region so it can meet its ambition of being carbon neutral by 2038. The GMCA works with businesses, residents and the public sector to help them become more energy efficient and invests in Greater Manchester’s  response to climate change. 

Skills and Employment

Increasing employment is a key priority for the GMCA. It works with partners to help unemployed people into work and give them the skills that businesses require, whilst also ensuring that high quality jobs are created and maintained within Greater Manchester. 

Transforming Public Services

The GMCA is working to make the region’s public services more effective by integrating services at a local level and across organisations (e.g. Police, Fire, NHS, Council). This means that problems can be identified quicker, and better support can be provided to find solutions.

What they are Responsible for

The Mayor and the GMCA are responsible for many aspects of life in Greater Manchester, such as oversight of policing, the fire and rescue service, transport, housing and Further Education funding.

What they are not Responsible for

The Mayor and the GMCA do not replace, nor can they overrule, Greater Manchester’s ten district councils.  

The Councils continue to be directly responsible for many of Greater Manchester’s day-to-day services, like council housing, schools, social services, waste collection, street cleaning, parking permits and council tax collection.  

Central government will continue to lead on many policy areas which affect the city region, including most forms of taxation.

Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester is the area made up of the council districts of Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. 

The region has existed for over forty years, and is built upon a history of close local ties between independent but interlinked towns and cities. 

1974 saw this relationship formalised, with the creation of the Greater Manchester Council (GMC), which took on a number of strategic functions, alongside the ten districts. 

In 1986, the GMC was abolished, but the region’s ten councils maintained their close relationship through the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), a partnership which took on a number of the GMC’s functions. 

In 2009, an independent economic review of Greater Manchester highlighted the potential benefits of greater collaboration. In response, AGMA investigated new ways to work together and solidify their relationship. 

In 2011, this led to the creation of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), a legal body with significant powers of its own over transport, economic development and regeneration. Over the following years, a number of devolution agreements were signed between Government and the GMCA, bringing new powers and responsibilities to the region, including over transport, Further Education funding, and health and social care. 

The first of these devolution agreements required Greater Manchester to elect a Mayor, and the first election took place in 2017. 

Today, Greater Manchester continues to work together for all its residents, whilst maintaining the unique identities and sovereignty of its constituent parts.