Steven Broomhead is chief executive of Warrington Borough Council and writes a regular column for the Warrington Guardian

THE phrase ‘Levelling Up’ is now dominant in government messaging and policy. It is a key domestic policy. Many of us aren’t clear on what it actually means. It’s probably about improving people’s life chances and making our places more vibrant and encouraging community pride. So what’s not to like?

The difficulty seems to be translating these excellent long term ambitions into delivery and impact. There is a 320-page Levelling Up White Paper which describes how impacts can be made in transport, skills, the environment, health and regeneration. The puzzle is how to grasp these ambitions and turn them into reality. Government is not good at working in a joined up way and complex issues are often dealt with inadequately because of the silo working nature of government departments.

For Warrington, we must ensure these Levelling Up ambitions support our growth and development. We already have in place the £20million successful Town Deal, which will deliver on many of the Levelling Up ambitions. It’s also good to see our local bus services improved by new government investment. There will also be other funding opportunities to come. However there is the consideration of is it the best way to encourage economic and social progress by requiring the council and other organisations to bid for many disconnected pots of money rather than mainstream the funding in the first place? It’s creating an unduly competitive bidding process and turning very busy civil servants into competition judges.

The Levelling Up opportunity will also presents the opportunity of reducing central government centralised decision making. Liverpool and Greater Manchester already have the benefit of devolution. In other areas there is now an opportunity to have an elected mayor who would lead on the big ticket items for the wider area. For us would it be under Cheshire, or should we become part of the current arrangements in in Liverpool or Manchester? What would the actual powers and responsibilities of the Mayor and how would they fit with existing powers and responsibilities of our council? Have the arrangements for elected mayors worked well so far and have been successful in boosting the economic and social benefits of their mayoral areas? Is there a danger of Warrington falling behind as government directs more of its attention supporting those areas who have decided to support an elected mayor model?

On the other hand, could our town's significant economic progress and development be hampered by more bureaucracy and opaque decision making? What if Government gave us more than the 30 pence in the pound that we raise from our business rates and strong economy?

In the next few months I would hope that we are allowed to engage with these ideas regarding the delivery of Levelling Up and the pros and cons of devolution of powers to us with or without an elected mayor. It will be a stimulating debate.