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Local Government and the changing institutional landscape of economic development

Fuller, Crispian, Bennett, R. J. and Ramsden, M. 2004. Local Government and the changing institutional landscape of economic development. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 22 (3) , pp. 317-347. 10.1068/c31m

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This paper assesses the response by local authorities to the new institutional structure introduced in England and Wales since 1997: of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Development Agency (WDA), subregional partnerships, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Education and Learning Wales (ELWa), and local government new well-being and Best Value initiatives. The paper demonstrates, using new survey evidence, that RDAs are beginning to promote a regional framework for local organizations, but the strategic impact is limited to county, unitary, and metropolitan areas, which are focused heavily on programme delivery. More generally, regional strategy inputs have added yet another dimension to local government partnerships. RDAs are not yet, therefore, the strategic bodies for all areas that was originally planned. Regional Chambers and the Welsh Assembly have weak influence on local government and are not yet effective monitoring bodies on the RDAs/WDA. Subregional partnerships offer potential for regional-local government strategy, but are chiefly involved in programme design (especially for regeneration) and their future importance appears limited. The transfer from TECs to the LSC/ELWa has had much less impact than expected: local government was already leader and financier of most of the projects in which TECs were involved. However, a reduction in level of activity, effectiveness, and resources has occurred for most projects in England, though to a lesser extent in Wales. Overall, the paper demonstrates that as yet changes in institutions have produced little real changes in how economic development occurs or how local government operates. The complexity and fragmentation of economic development institutions by government, on balance, appear to have increased rather than diminished.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Pion
ISSN: 0263-774X
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:09

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