Memorandum by Councillor Nic Dakin (RG
This is a brief submission made in a personal
capacity but drawing on my experience for six years as a member
of the Regional Assembly for Yorkshire and the Humber and more
latterly, my two years as Yorkshire Forward Board Member. I make
the following observations:
Devolution of powers to regional
level continues apace. Most recent examples of this include business
links responsibilities and the quasi regionalisation of LSCs.
This trend is both welcome and appropriate.
Wherever possible power should continue
to be devolved to the level closest to the people. This may be
European, national, regional, local or area level. (Where area
level involves communities on geographical basis smaller than
the local government boundaries).
Individuals operating at regional
level put a huge amount of work in. There are a number of paid
employees operating at regional level. Regional governance is,
however, precarious. A lot of people do their best but regional
governance, however important, is marginal to their principal
driving concerns. These tend to be local government based or from
voluntary, community, other public or private sectoral interest.
Only directly elected members to
a regional body will properly address the vulnerability of regional
governance. This would also, of course, tackle head on the issue
of accountability. This would also lead to simplification of the
Current arrangements lack clarity
for the general public. Whilst the Assembly, the RDA and Government
Office work broadly well together one can't help but wonder if
the model is simple, efficient and effective. The accountability
lines are distorted.
City regions work well as an economic
concept like travel to work areas or travel to learn areas. It
would be a significantly flawed approach to turn these into units
of governance or government. Such a move would exacerbate confusion
in the public mind, increase tensions at regional and local level,
and distract energy from the key task of driving up the region's
Closer inter-regional co-operation
is more than desirable; it is essential. People don't operate
within governmental boundaries whether they be geographic or otherwise.
If we are to achieve the best for the people we serve we must
co-operate with a purpose.