Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The future of RDAs (city regions)?

I am wondering if RDAs have a future? what leads me to think that their future is less than secure is:

- the increasing discussions about city-regions from central government and the likes of the IPPR
- allied with some talk of local government being the most appropriate level of delivery for regeneration/economic development
- so we might see a combination of local government reform with more responsibilities
- this leaves RDAs in a bit of a precarious posision!
- plus there is the next round of the Comprehensive Spending Review, and the need for RDAs to make a 'zero based' budget grab - i.e. prove your worth in the past and, more importantly, in the future
- its difficult for many RDAs to prove their worth - they simply have not done enough of a job of monitoring and evaluation

I think that there's several pertinent points about city regions and regen/ED though:

- local authorities as they stand are very diverse and there are significant differences in track records and capacity to deliver. Some are really great at economic development, some are really dire and endlessly reinvent the wheel of poor schemes
- there'll need to be some amalgamation of local authorities at city regions - voters don't want more tiers of regional or local government - witness the rejection of the North East assembly. One canny Geordie reckoned they would not vote for a new set of paid elected members and officers, if they weren't going to disband another level somewhere - i.e. reform rather than additional tiers is the key for voters
- its a hard political act to engage in wholesale reform of local government
- city region mayors may be the answer but they still have to be approved and voted in - and local government somewhere else must give up some power
- What's gonna happen to non-city regions? they may be a bit disenfranchised, to put it mildly. Expecting more country folks in wellies marching down the Mall in the next few years.... we may have to reinstate hunting to keep them happy.

As ever - random thoughts that no-one ever reads!....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:30 PM  

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