This document considers how economic development has been encouraged on a regional level, and what the impact on the consultancy and engineering industry has been. It also suggests some ways in which regional development could be enhanced.
Summary of ACE’s recommendations
There is a need for an effective voice (or voices) at sub-national level, to ensure that local development priorities are addressed in a way that is effective and meaningful to local communities and businesses.
The existing network of Regional Development Agencies and devolved administrations appears to have delivered positive results. However, there are certain limitations in the way that these organisations are structured.
These limitations could be overcome by exploring mechanisms such as:
- Groupings of local authorities to address common needs;
- Partnerships of sub-national authorities with other local stakeholders, such as businesses and community organisations; and
- Greater use of collaborative procurement by local authorities in service delivery.
These, if structured correctly, could potentially replace Regional Development Agencies entirely. If this were to happen, ACE recommends that a core set of best practice principles be applied to all sub-national development. This will give a sound framework for sub-national authorities to carry on the essential work of boosting local and regional economies.