THE future of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) could be decided at a meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority board today (Friday).

The seven constituent authorities - including Dudley and Sandwell - are due to vote on a process which, if passed, would see the positions of PCC and mayor combined for the 2020 elections.

Combination of the two positions is part of the region’s second devolution deal with the government, with this being the second time the board have met to agree a process in the past three months.

Back in July a rocky compromise was reached between the authorities during a heated board meeting, with all seven agreeing to continue discussions on the best way forward through the summer.

To be passed in time for the 2020 elections a draft bill must be presented to the Home Office by March, meaning time is of the essence. A Home Office official admitted at the last meeting that a similar combination of powers in Manchester was given five times as long to be completed.

If passed tomorrow, constituent authorities will be agreeing to consider the governance review and scheme over the next two months, with a further report on the outcome of this due in November.

Were each authority to agree to a process, proposals are for an eight week public consultation on the issue to begin in November.

However, a recent vote by Coventry City Council means that an agreement between the seven authorities is unlikely.

Having suggested at the Combined Authority meeting in July that two separate public consultations should take place on the proposals before a decision was made, council leader George Duggin put the issue to his own cabinet last month.

Current WMCA proposals only allow for one eight-week public consultation to take place, due to time constraints.

However at the cabinet meeting, Coventry council officially recommended that two consultations take place regarding the PCC’s position before the board be allowed to vote on it; one on the principles of the proposed governance model and one on the operational proposal.

This means that Coventry expects both consultations to take place before it will vote in favour of a process to combine the two positions.

However, as one Home Office official made clear at the board meeting in July, there simply is not enough time to hold two separate consultations.

Coventry could be overruled at the board meeting, with a majority all that is needed to take the process onto the next stage.

But, ultimately, every constituent member of the Combined Authority must agree on the proposals before they can be passed.

Coventry would almost certainly veto any proposals that did not contain two public consultations, making it impossible for the measures to be passed.

The issue has re-emerged during a week when current PCC David Jamieson has been particularly critical of government cuts to policing, after a report by the National Audit Office stated that “the Home Office’s decision to take a light touch approach to overseeing police forces means it does not know if the police system is financially sustainable”.

Mr Jamieson said that the government were “in denial over the impact of their own cuts to police funding”.