Written evidence from the Regional Development
1. This submission is intended to inform
the committee's inquiry into the formation of Local Enterprise
Partnerships (LEPs). It represents the views of the Regional Development
Agencies (RDAs) outside London, but not those of the London Development
Agency (LDA), given London's unique governance arrangements. A
number of RDAs have also submitted supplementary written evidence
highlighting regionally specific views and issues.
2. The Government has announced its decision
to abolish RDAs, working to a timetable of closure by April 2012.
RDAs are committed to working with Government and local partners
to achieve a smooth and orderly transition to new arrangements,
including the formation of LEPs. In addressing the topics outlined
in the committee's call for evidence, we draw upon the eleven
years experience of England's RDAs in promoting sustainable economic
development and regeneration, and highlight a number of issues
which have a bearing on the transition to new arrangements.
3. Regional Development Agencies were established
in April 1999. They brought together a number of economic development
structures that had been operating at sub-national level1 and
several different funding streams, mostly focused on regeneration.
RDAs were assigned the following statutory purposes:
(a) to further the economic development and
the regeneration of [their] area,
(b) to promote business efficiency, investment
& competitiveness in [their] area,
(c) to promote employment in [their] area,
(d) to enhance the development and application
of skills relevant to employment in [their] area, and
(e) to contribute to the achievement of sustainable
development in the United Kingdom where it is relevant to [their]
area to do so.
4. RDAs' founding legislation required RDAs
to prepare and keep under review a strategy relevant to their
purposes. These Regional Economic Strategies were developed with
the involvement of a wide range of regional partners;2 they set
economic development goals and priorities, and provided an implementation
framework showing how different partner bodies would contribute
to achieving the goals, within a national policy framework. Supported
by a comprehensive evidence base, the strategies underpinned RDAs'
ability to take a long view of regional economic issues.
5. From 2002 onwards, the advent of the
Single Programme concept allowed RDAs to merge departmental funding
streams to target spend on identified regional priorities. This
flexibility enabled RDAs to unlock opportunities and address issues
in an integrated manner, in a way that other bodies with more
specific remits are not always able to do3. Typically, RDAs' budgets
account for on average 0.7% of public expenditure in their regions.4
6. Over the period since their creation,
RDAs have been asked by Government to take on an expanding range
of functions (see attached table) and budget lines that were previously
administered by central Government itself, among other things,
administering grants for business, contracting for business support
and the management of European funds for economic development.
These additions have boosted the agencies' ability to support
business productivity and economic growth, which has been particularly
important in tackling the recession and for the development of
new technologies and emerging industries such as low carbon, which
will deliver new jobs for the future. It is not possible at this
stage to say how many of these activities the Government will
wish to prioritise for the future, or how they will be delivered.
7. As NDPBs, RDAs have been directly accountable
to central Government through BIS, with Chief Executives, as Accounting
Officers, answerable to Parliament. RDA board members are appointed
by the Secretary of State. A majority have business backgrounds,
but every board also includes four appointees from local authorities
as well as members from the trades unions, the third sector and,
usually, education. The focus and perspective of RDAs has nevertheless
been from a business orientation.
8. For the period 2010-11, as part of a
national RDA Performance Framework, we have been required to make
six monthly reports to our sponsoring Department (BIS) reporting
progress against the following six core outputs:
Jobs created or safeguarded.
People assisted in skills development.
These replaced the previous "Tasking Framework"
which required RDAs to demonstrate how they were supporting the
delivery of a range of national PSA targets, including the Regional
Economic Performance PSA.5
9. RDAs' activities have also been subject
to regular audit and extensive independent scrutiny and evaluation.
For example, the National Audit Office in 2006 conducted comprehensive
assessments of RDA capability and performance, with results demonstrating
that RDAs were effective and efficient organisations. These were
recently updated in supplementary reviews published in July 2010.
In one of the largest independent evaluations of its type, commissioned
by BERR (now BIS), PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that between 2002-03
to 2006-07 each £ invested by RDAs directly benefited regional
economies by £4.50 rising to £6.40 if future benefits
were taken into account. The report also found that the RDAs had
levered £5.7 billon of private sector expenditure.6
10. In addition, RDAs have been scrutinised
by local authorities and other social and economic partners in
their regions, and have engaged with them to share information
and best practice, to develop capacity, and to help support and
strengthen partnerships including setting up jointly sponsored
11. The Coalition Government has stated
that, in addition to tackling the deficit, a crucial part of the
Coalition strategy is to rebalance the economy structurally and
want to create a fairer and more
balanced economy where the UK is not so dependent on a narrow
range of economic sectors, and where new businesses and economic
opportunities are more evenly shared between regions and industries."
"We will support sustainable growth and
enterprise, balanced across all regions and industries, and promote
the green industries that are so essential for our future."7
12. In other statements, the Government
has highlighted the importance of developing the industries of
the future that build on the UK's industrial strengthsnotably
the green economy but also design, creative industries and innovative
manufacturing.8 As the "department of growth"9, BIS
will be leading the drive to realise the Government's long term
vision for balanced and sustainable growth that will also generate
the tax revenue to repay the deficit.
Theme 1: "The functions of the new LEPs
and ensuring value for money"
13. The joint letter from the Secretaries
of State for BIS and CLG to local authority and business leaders
inviting applications for local enterprise partnerships (LEPs)10
makes it clear that LEPs will form a vital part of the Government's
approach to economic development in England, with a focus on strengthening
local economies. In the letter the Government commits to "reviewing
all the functions of the RDAs" with further details to follow
in a White Paper on sub-national economic growth. The letter does
not specifically allocate any existing RDA functions to LEPs;
instead, it invites "a wide range of ideas". It also
affirms that some functions are "best led nationally, such
as inward investment, sector leadership, responsibility for business
support, innovation, and access to finance."
14. Ministers may be open to the proposals
for supporting structures on a wider basis than individual LEPs,11
where these are strongly supported locally. It has also been suggested
that that LEPs (individually or jointly) may have a part to play
in the delivery of the "nationally led" functions.
15. The Committee's inquiry is therefore
timely. RDAs' experience over the past decade points to some key
considerations that we believe are core to building a better balanced
and more sustainable economy. We suggest these considerations
might usefully be applied to the transition of functions to LEPs
and other arrangements in support of the Government's wider growth
(a) Business focus: any organisation whose role
is to support and engage with business needs an understanding
of business and the ability to "speak the language of business".
This is key to credibility and the ability to maximise private
sector leverage to get the most from public sector investment.
(b) Operational flexibility: responding to the
needs of businesses requires a flexible approach that allows for
the ability to take managed risks and work across administrative
boundaries, whilst at the same time addressing long term challenges.
(c) Critical mass: scale of resources and scope
of remit brings with it a greater ability to influence and lever
in the resources and involvement of others, particularly the private
sector. It also allows for the development and retention of specialist
expertise, for example in economic analysis, knowledge of particular
industrial sectors, and professional skills such as planning and
(d) Coordination, integration and co-investment:
to make complex investments needed to secure economic growth,
it is vital that economic actors are able to work across boundaries,
to bring together the right private and public sector partners,
and deploy flexible funding streams in a holistic way.
(e) Use of economic evidence and intelligence:
to help decision-makers prioritise spend where it will have the
best impact, and to focus on interventions that address distinctive
issues and market failuresrecognising that different parts
of the country have different economic legacies and face different
challenges and opportunities.
16. More generally businesses across the
regions have emphasised the value of stability in the business
environment and support framework. The provision of a consistent,
long term policy framework for economic development at both national
and local level, along with a credible and readily understood
"interface" for engagement with the public sector, is
most likely to be conducive to private sector and investor confidence.
17. Geographical coverage and potential
diversity of LEPs: As ministers have noted, LEPs may not provide
complete coverage of England. There is no requirement for all
areas to have an LEP, some will be bigger than others, and the
Government has said that local choice and capacity should play
a big part in the particular range of activities LEPs will undertake.
While this local flexibility will be wholly appropriate for some
functions, there is also a risk that too much variability could
present difficulties and add complexity for business, especially
if LEPs in different areas were providing radically different
services and functions, for example business support. In the early
days, at least, it seems likely that the strongest areas with
well established partnerships and resourcesfor example
in some of the larger citieswill be the first to get going,
while areas with less established capacity for joint decision
making and delivery, such as some rural areas, would need time
to catch up. These scenarios pose a question about the potential
capability of Government to deliver national coverage for business
programmes in those areas where local leaders either fail to secure
a LEP, opt against one, or seek very limited responsibilities.
Consideration: How to ensure that LEPs, which
are unlikely to be geographically comprehensive and may by "functionally
asymmetrical", provide the business community and stakeholders
with a consistent, credible and readily understood interface.
18. Effectiveness and efficiency: RDAs are
working with local business and authority partners to ensure that
applications for LEPs make full use of existing expertise and
experience where desired. RDAs are in the top quartile of public
bodies for back office efficiency.12 The success of LEPs is likely
to be judged, not only by their ability to deliver economic benefit
for their areas and, as with previous structures, by how efficient
they are at maximising the proportion of their budgets that is
spent on activity to stimulate growth. In this context, and in
a time of intense pressure on public expenditure, we suggest that
LEPs should be subject to a robust evaluation framework commensurate
with the detailed independent evaluation framework applied by
BIS and HMT to the RDAs, particularly where they are carrying
out functions on behalf of central Government.
19. Funding of LEPs: Depending on the extent
to which LEPs may be expected to provide all or most of their
own core funding, smaller LEPs and those representing less prosperous
communities, may find it difficult to develop the capacity to
deliver effectively, and to access the skills they may need to
develop and bring forward projects. This may particularly affect
rural areas with a high degree of dependency on smaller businesses.
In this context, and given the tight pressure on public spending,
the role of the two-year Regional Growth Fund may be relevant
as a source of programme funding for LEPs, and it may be helpful
if it offered some ability for LEPs to access revenue funding
to support project delivery.
20. Competition or collaboration?: As the
Agencies have matured we have increasingly pursued, with support
from Government, a range of successful collaborative activities
seeking to optimise overall impact on national competitiveness,
growth and deliver more effective public value for money. Inter-RDA
collaboration activities have focussed on innovation, sectors,
research and development work, links with high education, transport
and inward investment. It is important that mechanisms for collaborative
work across key sectors are maintained, and that LEPs are encouraged
to work collaboratively across administrative boundaries in the
national economic interest, given the varied (and increasingly
virtual) nature of economic geography,
Theme 2: "The Regional Growth Fund, and
funding arrangements under the LEP system"
21. Regional Growth Fund (RGF): The Government
is currently consulting on the design of the two-year regional
fund. The announcement on 23 July13 confirmed that it will be
centrally administered with ministers making decisions on the
basis of an approval panel chaired by Lord Heseltine. The fund
is not restricted to LEPs, with the Government proposing that
applications should be possible from partnerships involving universities,
and other public-private partnerships.
22. The Government's consultation document
suggests that the fund should have dual objectivesto support
projects with significant potential for economic growth and sustainable
private sector employment; and to support in particular those
areas and communities that are more dependent on the public sector.
This duality is consistent with the tasking of RDAs and their
role in striking a balance between capitalising on economic strengths
in order to drive growth, and supporting areas with weaker economies
so that they do not fall farther behind.14 This is why the previous
Government ensured that RDAs in less prosperous regions received
a higher per capita grant. In practice, however, all regions contain
a mixture of successful and lagging areas, and RDAs have prioritised
their spend and activity with the aim of both narrowing the gap
in growth rates within their regions, and seizing opportunities
to build on strengths to drive up regional economic performance
23. This suggests that it will be helpful
for the criteria for the two-year fund to set out how the assessment
panel will balance the potentially conflicting objectives of the
fund, and how applications will be weighted and the effectiveness
of funding assessed.
24. Timescales are also important. Regeneration
activity typically takes much longer to yield its full economic
benefits than targeted sector development work or skills interventions.15
High quality economic development projects can often take many
months and years to bring forward, so many good projects are likely
to be already "on the books" and ready to go. At the
same time, local partners in new LEPs will need time to develop
propositions. These constraints may limit private sector investment
opportunities and wider access to European funding, which requires
guaranteed funding over several years.
25. It is therefore critical that the fund's
criteria are brought forward as soon as possible, to allow local
partners as much time as possible to put forward proposals and
to review projects whose development is on hold because of uncertainty
about the availability of budgets, which may otherwise be lost
and private sector funds withdrawn.
26. Further more, given the two-year lifespan
of the RGF, there will be a need for clarity on future funding
in order to maximise private investment over longer timescales,
particularly since long-term projects are often those that have
the greatest economic potential.
27. A number of RDAs have developed innovative
infrastructure funds, which have unlocked significant private
sector investment through recyclable public sector investments
and loans. In the constrained fiscal environment, such approaches
can offer good value for money as a way of stimulating private
sector investment as well as sustainability in the use of public
Themes 3 and 4: "Government proposals
for ensuring co-ordination of roles between different LEPs"
and "Arrangements for co-ordinating regional economic strategy"
28. Co-ordination between LEPs: There is
an expectation that LEPs will be strategic bodies, and we assume
they will need to engage in cross border/multi agency plans. At
a sub-national level Regional Economic Strategies have strengthened
the alignment of the priorities and plans of different bodies
and localities. Our experience suggests that, while the Government
is pursuing simplification of the public sector landscape, inter-agency
coordination remains important for many aspects of economic developmentsuch
as prioritisation of major infrastructure, supply chain development
etc.where a shared approach will deliver the best economic
outcomes, maximise value for money, and remove duplication.
29. A successful strategic plan (at sub-regional,
regional or national level) cannot be developed and delivered
merely by aggregating local or thematic priorities. It requires
a detailed analysis of the global, national and sub-national context
and economic drivers, and the prioritisation of key objectives
for success. Business and higher education and other groups will
expect long-term agreed frameworks to support, and instil confidence
in, long-term investment decisions.
30. The Government has given a clear steer
that LEP proposals should reflect economic geography, which suggests
that the availability of robust and sectorspecific supporting
economic data is likely to be a factor in the consideration of
proposals. However this will not necessarily be straightforward,
given that economic geography differs according to sector, industry,
technology and other factors. Industrial sectors and supply chains
rarely conform to administrative boundaries or tight geographies
(in emerging sectors, the "geography" is often virtual
or trans-national). In such circumstances it will be important
for the LEPs and other economic development bodies to coordinate
closely to optimise the economic outcome for the country as a
whole and the return for public investment. The extent to which
LEPs exist in all of the relevant areas would also be relevant.
31. Groups of LEPs may in some cases wish
to create shared resources and capacity to support their joint
interests and capability across a wider area or region, and to
provide specialist expertise. Another possible approach would
be for LEPs with distinctive and significant strengths in particular
industrieseg automotive, aerospace etc.to take on
a national "lead" role working with Government (as RDAs
have done in recent years). This would have the advantage that
LEPs could help Government to incorporate local perspectives in
the development of economic policies. It would also have the effect
of introducing an upward accountability line where LEPs were delivering
functions on behalf of Government. The absence of such arrangements
would raise the theoretical risk of sub-optimal outcomes resulting
from poor inter-LEP collaboration or excessive competition, insufficient
focus on integrating economic development functions at different
spatial levels, or the exclusion of large rural or other areas.
32. In the light of the Government's decision
in principle to abolish the Government Offices, and in the absence
of other sub-national structures, there will be a need to determine
whether LEPs should take over the RDAs' current responsibility
for managing "economic shocks" that cross local boundaries,
and what body should have responsibility in areas without LEPs.
Recent examples include the closure of major manufacturing sites16
and severe flooding; events which may or may not occur in areas
not covered by a LEP. Hitherto, RDAs have very effectively led
the coordination of responses to economic shocks, providing immediate
capacity, providing in some cases funding for recovery and coordinating
wider activity via their established business groups and established
links with local authorities, other public bodies and communities.
Consideration: How should LEPs interface
effectively with key sectors whose functional economic area spans
several LEPs/sub-national regions?
Consideration: What incentives should LEPs
have to do this, and what levers will BIS have to ensure delivery
and fit with national policy objectives?
Consideration: Who should lead on the response
to major economic shocks?
Theme 5: "Structure and accountability
33. Structure: LEP structure and accountability
arrangements should reflect their agreed functions, and conform
to public sector standards in relation to openness and transparency.
The following comments are indicative in advance of clarification
of the envisaged functions of LEPs, and how the Government will
deal with wider RDA functions post-abolition.
34. Meaningful business involvement is critical:
A mixed board of business and local authority leaders will provide
local accountability by enabling local figures to be held responsible
for the performance of their LEP. In our experience, businesses
will seek involvement and remain committed partners only as long
the body is able to take decisions efficiently leading to demonstrable
and effective change "on the ground", and decisions
are not driven by political timetables or non-economic considerations.
BIS's commitment to business chaired boards is a key mechanism
for meeting these requirements.
35. This suggests that business leaders
should be involved from the outset in LEP formation and invited
to engage in open and equal discussion. Although the identification
of local authority representatives for LEPs will in most cases
be relatively straightforward, it may be more difficult in some
areas to secure an appropriate blend of business representation.
To be fully effective, boards should reflect a spread of business
size, sector expertise, as well as strong links to other key actors
in the development and delivery of economic development projects,
such as HEIs, Third Sector, other public bodies (UKTI, Highways
Agency, NHS, TSB etc.).
36. Funding: With a number of potential
funding streams derived from both local and national government,
as well as potentially from business and the European Commission,
LEPs can expect to be accountable to a range of external bodies.
Governance structures will therefore need to be sufficiently robust
to cope with multiple reporting structures.
Theme 6: "The legislative framework and
timetable for converting RDAs to LEPs, the transitional arrangements,
and the arrangements for residual spending and liability of RDAs"
37. Following the Government's decision
to abolish RDAs, RDA Chief Executives have been in regular communication
with BIS seeking clarification of the intended post-RDA policy,
to ensure that we are able to deliver an orderly transition of
functions, assets and liabilities, whether this is to LEPs, to
national leadership, to other bodies, or curtailment.17 The appointment
of a BIS transition board is an important element in the transition
and we look forward to the development of a comprehensive transition
plan on which to base important decisions.
38. To facilitate the smooth abolition of
the Agencies and a potential transfer of functions, assets and
resource, we have highlighted a number of risks which we are working
with BIS to mitigate. Among these one of the most important is
the risk of RDA staff with valuable specialist expertise and knowledge
being lost ahead of a potential central involvement in alternative
arrangements. This in turn could undermine the effective disposal
or transfer of assets and liabilities (some of which are critical
to delivery of national economic objectives) and add to the challenges
of efficiently managing the numerous and highly complex nature
of investments and joint ventures.
39. There is also a risk of disruption to
the pipeline of economic development projects (at various stages
of development), undermining economic prospects, particularly
in likely high-growth sectors subject to intense international
competition and investment. The impact of these risks is naturally
exacerbated by recent RDA budget cuts, which have caused RDAs
to wind-down future commitments and which, in the absence of a
replacement body of comparable nature (eg a set of public economic
development bodies operating to a comprehensive geographical coverage
with a clear set of agreed sub-national priorities) is already
disrupting the flow of future projects and potential for future
Theme 7: "Means of procuring funding
from outside bodies (including EU funding) under the new arrangements"
40. Private Sector funding: There is broad
consensus among economists that the private sector is still reluctant
to invest at this point in the cycle. In order to be successful
in unlocking private investment, we believe that LEPs will need
to foster strong relationships with businesses. Business credibility
and staff expertise are key success factors: feedback from businesses
who have invested in RDA projects suggests that they value at
least three key characteristics of the RDAs: connectedness and
influence, expertise and credibility, and the ability to invest.
The latter is often seen as the least important.
41. Thus LEPs will face the immediate challenge
of de-risking private investment in order to stimulate private
enterprise and growth at a key point in the economic cycle, and
ensuring that they have the necessary capacity and credibility.
42. EU Funding: Following the decision to
close the RDAs, discussions have now commenced on new delivery
arrangements for ERDF and RDPE consistent with EU policy frameworks.
43. There is £1.3 billion18 uncommitted
ERDF still available through the Convergence and Competitiveness
programmes, which are intended primarily to support the Lisbon
agenda, ie have a policy focus on enterprise, innovation and sustainable
developmentobjectives that chime with those that have been
set for BIS.
44. However, in order to draw down these
funds, programmes may need to find another £1.3 billion19
in match funds, and it will be important to manage the risk of
decommitment of ERDF across the English programmes and risks arising
from any decision to transfer the responsibility for the management
of Structural Fund programmes to new structures, together with
the requisite systems and procedures. The transfer of responsibilities
for the management of the Convergence and Competitiveness ERDF
programmes from the Government Offices to the RDAs at the start
of the current programmes, with the setting up of the requisite
systems and procedures, took over three years to put in place
to meet EC requirements.
45. It is important to note that management
responsibilities for the current programmes will continue until
at least mid 2017 and, based on experience of the previous programmes,
could last well beyond 2020.
13 August 2010
TABLE ONE: MAIN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
| Business Link services|
Lead on Solutions for Business at sub-national level
Primary public sector engagement with c.25,000 key companies
Support for business networks, including high growth companies
Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS)
|Business Finance|| Community Development Finance Institutions|
Regional Venture Capital & Loan Funds
|Development of key sectors || Specialist support to develop new sectors and supply chains of national and regional economic significance eg composites, advanced engineering, micro-electronics and digital design, environmental technologies, life sciences, marine science and creative industries|
Development and management of Strategic Investment Fund projects (18 national projects) that support key sectors (eg National Composites Centre, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre etc.)
|FDI and international trade|| Attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and retaining existing investors through key account management functions, working in partnership with local authorities|
Promoting exports and international trade
Providing local knowledge and access to influencers (eg on planning)
|Innovation|| SfB products (eg Innovation vouchers)|
Design Council Products (eg "Designing Demand")
Knowledge transfer and commercialisation activity and supporting businesses to link to the research base
Major project development and delivery of Infrastructure to support innovation (eg NAREC in NE, AMP in South Yorkshire)
forming consortia of partners for capital input
Securing European funding
Secretariat for Science & Industry Councils
Regional intelligence, and relationship management
Partnership work with the Technology Strategy Board
|Research Councils/HEIs|| Initiation/funding of university research (some RDAs in liaison with Research Councils)|
Engagement with universities on economic development, and links with sectors, and to the skills and innovation agendas
|Enterprise|| Supporting business start-ups both generically and to target groups eg women, young people, BME communities|
Promoting enterprise culture
|Energy and low carbon|| Regional Strategies and renewable energy targets |
Renewable energy capacity studies
Major project delivery, research and partnership with business eg carbon capture & storage
Accessing finance such as JESSICA, ELENA & ERDF
Low Carbon Economic Areasmajor projects and lead responsibility in seven of the eight designated areas
Resource efficiency support to business
Retrofit/construction expertise and support
Low carbon business networks and business support
Strategic Investment Framework major projects
Offshore wind infrastructure competition
|Tourism Economy & Creative Economy
|| Responsibility for tourism in the regions including strategy, delivery structures & operations|
Delivery of tourism support
Development of creative industries through funding Regional Screen Agencies etc
Promotion of major events with economic significance
|Digital|| Digital Britain agenda|
Hi-speed broadband infrastructure
|Skills|| Development of Regional Skills Strategies and annual Skills Priority Statements|
Management of skills brokerage and some funding of skills initiatives eg STEM, where it is linked to employer demand and evidenced regional growth sectors
Low carbon skills (SSC & LAs)
Sponsorship of Regional Employment and Skills Boards/Partnerships
Provision of labour market intelligence to inform strategy and investment plans
Shaping skills provision in line with employer demand and evidenced regional growth sectors
Integrating skills provision with business support, enterprise, innovation and physical regeneration
|Strategy, evidence and foresight|| Prepare and maintain Regional Economy Strategies and shared plans at sub-regional and local levels.|
economic intelligence function to support local, sub-regional, regional, and national decision making, strategy, policy, and investment decisions
Statutory Consultee role on the economic aspects of spatial planning
Economic, strategy and policy support for local areas eg through integrated master planning, city-region strategy development, LEAs, MAAs, EPBs, LAA delivery and to support major project appraisal
Pan-regional collaboration and making the case to government eg through RDA network input to the Budget
|European programmes|| Manage the ERDF Programmes (Convergence and Competitiveness) and ESF (in some regions). |
Deliver the socio-economic measures of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE)
|Regeneration|| Targeted Regeneration activity to support delivery of economic prioritieseither direct delivery or provision of funding to partners (such as LAs) |
Contribute to Regional Funding Allocations advice on housing, transport and regeneration spend.
Supporting development of community regeneration skills and expertise
Accessing JESSICA funding
|Transport infrastructure|| Evidencing and strategic advice on transport and infrastructure, and partnership engagement on Regional Funding Advice and prioritisation.|
Some RDAs fund specific transport and other infrastructure initiatives to unlock growth eg the South West Regional Infrastructure Fund, Capacity Funds etc.
Work on ports infrastructure, and other large/strategic projects where investment addresses transport blockages that are holding back economic growth or people accessing economic opportunity; including where this crosses local, sub-regional or regional boundaries E.g. through the Northern Way
|Rural|| Delivery of socio-economic measures of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). See EU Programmes above.|
Rural economic development
Promotion of Rural broadband
Food supply chain development
|Resource efficiency and climate change
|| Waste and resource efficiency needs of businesses|
Development/delivery of Climate Change Risk Assessment Provision
Promotion of sustainable development objectives
|Olympics and 2012 Legacy|| Nations and Regions Group (engagement across UK on the 2012 Games)|
CompeteFor (matches buyers & suppliers for 2012 contracts)
London 2012 Buyer Engagement Team (develops 2012 business opportunities)
London 2012 Business Network (maximising 2012 opportunities/business advice)
|Third sector|| Support for social enterprises|
Some support for the voluntary & community sector, inc partnership and capacity building
Activities to tackle economic and social exclusion
Social Enterprise (OTS Social Enterprise Business Support, School Gates Project)
|Economic Shocks|| Support to business, communities and the economy as part of the recovery efforts from economic shocks and emergencies (not a statutory duty)|
Rapid response service, with JobCentre Plus and LAs in the event of company closures
REFERENCES1 Including English
Partnerships, Rural Development Commission, Regional Inward Investment
Organisations, Regional Supply Chain Offices, Single Regeneration
Budget Teams and Innovation and Enterprise Teams (Government Offices).
2 Including local authorities, strategic companies, business
organisations, Government Offices (and other parts of national
government), further and higher education bodies, third sector
groups, and other publically funded bodies (eg Highways Agency,
Environment Agency) whose investments could be aligned with regional
priorities to support economic growth.
3 Independent evidence (see Impact of RDA Spending; March
2009) has highlighted the role of RDAs in being able to integrate
a range of tools, (articulate needs and allocate resources) to
provide an integrated economic development function that maximises
the opportunities for sustainable economic development.
4 Impact of RDA Spending (March 2009), http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file50735.pdf,
5 PSA 7: "Improve the economic performance of all English
regions and reduce the gap in economic growth rates between regions".
See also footnote 14.
7 The Coalition: Our programme for government.
8 Foreword, A Strategy for Sustainable Growth.
9 Vince Cable, ibid.
10 Pickles/Cable letter (29 June 2010).
11 See, for example, Vince Cable's comment at the BIS Select
Committee (20 July): "There may be parts of the country where
the business groups and the local authorities will feel it is
helpful to have a regional structure, but there are others where
they will not and we do not want to prejudge them."
12 HM Government Benchmarking the Back Office: Central
13 BIS, CLG, CO announcement (23 July 2010).
14 This tension was also implicit in the previous Government's
target to improve the economic performance of all English regions
while also reducing the gap in economic growth rates between regions
15 See for instance: Impact of RDA Spending (March
2009) and the NAO's Regenerating the English Regions: Regional
Development Agencies' support to physical regeneration projects
16 Examples include the collapse of MG Rover, the closure
of the Teesside Corus plant and the wide ranging impacts of the
17 Letter from Jane Henderson to Philip Rutnam, 16 July 2010.
18 Based on level of commitments as at 30 June 2010 and at
an average exchange rate of £1 = 1.2074 over the life
of the programme.
19 The total level of match will depend on the exchange rate.