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The LGA today proposed six key tests of regional democracy that should be met before regional devolution can take p...
The LGA today proposed six key tests of regional democracy that should be met before regional devolution can take place. The six key tests are local government's response to the proposals set out in the government's white paper on the regions.

The six questions are:

1. Will regional assemblies have genuinely devolved powers and enough resources to make a difference?

The assemblies need to have powers that are devolved down from Westminster, not taken up from local councils, which must have the freedoms and flexibilities to meet local needs.

2. Will local people be able to decide on the new regional and local structures?

Local communities must determine what happens to both local and regional government structures.

3. Will the new arrangements be flexible?

The assemblies' functions and powers must reflect the different views about regional government that exist across the country.

4. Will they build on existing strengths?

The new arrangements should not bring change for the sake of it and the process should not distract local councils from their commitment to improving public services.

5. Will the decision making process be transparent?

All the arrangements and the decision making process for moving towards the new assemblies should be accountable and open to public scrutiny.

6. Will there be in all regions the capacity to scrutinise the workings of government offices, agencies and other non-elected bodies?

There must be effective scrutiny arrangements for local people in all regions, whether or not they decide to have regional assemblies.

LGA chair Jeremy Beecham said:

'There are differences of opinion on the issue of regional assemblies amongst the political parties in local government. These six key questions need to be answered with a 'yes' before decisions on regional devolution can be made.

'The LGA is keen to ensure that regional assemblies have the backing of local people and that the process for establishing them does not divert councils from improving their services to local people. Regional assemblies should embody a genuine devolution of power from Whitehall, and deliver real democratic accountability in the regions.'

* see LGCnetfor full details of the regional governance white paper.

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