Abstracts: April 4th, 2007

This report from the New Local Government Network identifies options for redesigning regional governance and suggests establishing ‘RDA-plus Regional Executive Agencies’. The new style bodies would be held to greater account locally and nationally in order to provide stronger regional leadership.The report argues that a regional dimension in public policy is crucial in drawing down powers from Whitehall and giving local government a stronger lead over otherwise ‘quangoised’ responsibilities. It sets out a number of options for reform, including the merging of different regional policy strategies and considering Ministerial regional portfolios to scrutinise the work of regional bodies.

Its main conclusions are that Regional Development Agencies have been successful and could be enhanced by giving them leadership responsibility as ‘Regional Executive Agencies’. Stronger leadership by these ‘Regional Executive Agencies’ would only be possible if there was a simultaneous improvement in accountability and scrutiny, perhaps involving local authority leaders and regional MPs in a number of different governance options. Local authorities could have greater sway over regional decisions, perhaps with powers to ‘call in’ or delay decisions.

Published by the NLGN and available at: http://www.nlgn.org.uk