SCRUTINY WORK OF REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES ‘HAS MATURED’
The way Regional Assemblies scrutinise the work of Regional Development Agencies has matured steadily according to the Chairman of the English Regions Network. Councillor Keith Mitchell told the Network’s Annual Scrutiny Conference the improvement had come about as the two groups of organisations recognised and responded to the benefits of working constructively together.
The conference also heard from Ciara Mulligan, Deputy Director at the Department of Communities and Local Government, who said Regional Assemblies had developed sound processes through partnership and sharing good practice. The Department, she said, wanted to build on this to demonstrate the growing maturity of the regional institutions in delivering change. Councillor Mitchell aid, “The expertise that the Assemblies have developed in this area is a valuable asset in strengthening regional accountability and represents experience that is not easily replicated.”
Scrutiny is one of the main functions of Regional Assemblies, ensuring that a number of organisations and agencies, including the RDAs, are answerable to regional partners for their decisions, the way they allocate resources and their contribution to meeting economic development objectives for each region.
The conference, organised by the English Regions Network, which is the umbrella organisation for England’s eight partnership Regional Assemblies, was designed as an opportunity for regional and national representatives to review the statement of the key principles supporting effective regional scrutiny. This Memorandum of Understanding is due to be published this Spring and will provide a framework for the further development of regional models.