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Reviewing Conservative Government local economic development policy from the perspective of Training and Enterprise Councils: strategy, funding and network approaches

Huggins, Robert 1998. Reviewing Conservative Government local economic development policy from the perspective of Training and Enterprise Councils: strategy, funding and network approaches. Policy Studies 19 (1) , pp. 51-72.

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Abstract

The objective of this paper is to review, from a TEC perspective, the effect of changing Conservative Government policies in the 1990s, such as the introduction of Business Links, on local economic development strategies. The paper focuses on the effects of the Government's attempt to vest in TECs the role of local strategists; the subsequent imposition of a prescriptive funding regime; and how policy delivery has increasingly encompassed a networked approach. It is shown that the approach adopted by TECs, based on developing institutional networks with other partners, has suffered in many circumstances due to the Governmental restrictions placed on them, in particular the necessity to constrict activities to arenas that are often overly localised. A key outcome of the reduction in TEC budgets and the introduction of a funding regime based on a bidding process has been to limit the ability and capacity of TECs to tackle economic development on their own. This has resulted in the concept of networking, through the generation of local partnerships, becoming an even more important component within the economic development landscape. It is argued that better co‐ordination and closer collaboration within the bidding-related bureaucracy is required, in particular that surrounding the Single Regeneration Budget. Government should take greater responsibility for funding projects based on sound and long-term objectives, rather than an over fascination with prescribing funds towards short-term ‘flavour of the month’ initiatives. It is argued that there is a need to move away from satisfying the rigidities of national evaluation models and the accompanying arbitrary and short-sighted criteria as to what actually constitutes the success or failure of an initiative or project. It is concluded that if TECs and/or Business Links are to be sustainable there is a need for consolidating and introducing some transparency to the current system of local economic development.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
ISSN: 0144-2872
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:10
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/29309

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