THE financial assumptions behind several of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) leading programmes remain the biggest risk to the authority, it has been revealed.

Due to be discussed at next week’s Audit, Risk and Assurance Committee, the WMCA’s Strategic Risk register has once again given the authority’s finances the highest risk rating available.

Both the likelihood and impact of the financial assumptions falling short have been given a rating of 5, the highest available on the register, giving it the overall score of 25.

The main reasons behind such a high score are the fact that several of the assumptions which the WMCA’s finances were based on – including supplementary business rates and the mayoral precept – have yet to be realised.

And, writing in the register, officers from the WMCA say that leaders have asked the authority to explore alternative streams of income.

“This risk continues to present the greatest risk to WMCA due to a current funding shortfall in the Investment Programme,” it says.

“A review exercise has been undertaken and further action requested by leaders to look at commercialisation and other income generating options along with onward discussions with government, the outcome of which will be presented to the investment board in due course.”

An update on the state of the Investment Programme is expected in August this year.

Other risks identified by the Strategic Risk Register include stakeholder and political relations – the idea that, as the WMCA grows, relations between its various regions and leaders could become strained.

This has already begun to manifest itself in recent months, with local leaders rejecting both the transfer of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s powers to the mayor, as well as seemingly rejecting the idea of merging West Midlands Fire Service with the combined authority.

In both cases, the votes for and against were along party lines.

Meanwhile the risks around the delivery of the region’s 5G programme have been reduced, taking it out of the red.