The nine regional development agencies will be abolished during the next two years. They follow the same fate as the eight local leader’s boards and the local government standards board.
The abolition goes ahead despite a spirited defence of the record of the agencies by Sir Harry Studholme, lead Chairman for all England’s RDAs. He argued that Government analysis shows that the RDAs are among the most efficient of all departments and agencies. Independent National Audit Office studies showed that the RDAs were making a real difference in their regions, and their latest report is likely to declare that RDAs are performing ‘strongly’ or ‘to a good standard’ across a wide range of their work.
The work now done by the RDAs will be carried out by newly created Local Enterprise Partnerships. The creation of the partnerships, how their boundaries will be decided and the respective roles for local authorities and business will be set out in a White Paper to be published later in the summer.
Business Innovation and Skills will discuss the priority issues and transition arrangements with business leaders and councils. The shape of the new Local Enterprise Partnerships will not follow a ‘one size fits all’ but they will reflect the local situation. It is possible that in some situations, a regional group will be appropriate.
BIS is now inviting proposals from parties interested in forming local enterprise partnerships.