for a rethink on plans to reorganise government in the English regions
following the publication of new research which shows that the current
proposals do not stand up well to the tests set out by the LGA as crucial to
The LGA and CCN jointly commissioned the research publication: Devolution to the regions - what does it mean for local government in England?
to the regions - what does it mean for local government in England?by
Charlie Jeffrey and Adrian Reilly at the University of Birmingham.
They are particularly critical of proposals that mean the majority of
regions are unlikely to move to a directly elected regional assembly in the
near future, saying that these do not stand up well against the Local
Government Association's tests of 'clout', 'accountability', 'subsidiarity'
David Sparks, leading LGA spokesperson on regional government,
who is chairing a national conference today to launch this report said: 'The
government's proposals so far do not indicate how regional chambers will be
able to hold the multitude of regional quangos to account. There are already
too many national agencies operating at a regional level which are only
accountable to Westminster. We will be using this research to press for an
increase in democratic regional scrutiny and influence over these bodies.'
The research also highlights other issues of concern to local government
about plans for new regional government arrangements, such as:
- Plans to draw powers up from local councils, especially in areas like
planning and housing, which is opposed by the LGA.
- Proposals to force local government re-organisation in areas where elected
regional assemblies are being considered. It says that multiple layers of
local government operate successfully in other European countries.
The LGA and CCN will be using these research findings to support their case
for changes to the proposed Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill.
ODPM press release YOUR REGION - YOUR SAY
1. The LGA Conference 'Regional Devolution - The Next Steps' is being held
today. Key speakers include Nick Raynsford, minister for local government and the
regions, who is set to announce new details on the proposals for regional
2. The LGA has agreed six key tests of regional democracy. These are
- Any assembly must have sufficient powers and funds to make a real
- Any new structures must increase accountability to local people
- Power should be devolved from Westminster, not sucked up from local
- Any new arrangements should be flexible to reflect the uneven demand
across the country for a regional dimension to public policy
- Decisions taken at regional level should be transparent and open to public
- Any changes must build on and respect existing strengths and
3. Devolution to the regions - what does it mean for local government in
England? Is published by the LGA and CCN, priced£20, or£10 for local
4. The research report also includes a detailed profile of reach of the
English regions with key facts and figures on politics, society and economy.