English regionalism: Rhetoric or substance?
- Funder: Economic and Social Research Council
- Lead applicant: Dr Sarah Ayres
- Co-researcher: Wendy Larner (School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol)
- Research centre: Urban Studies
- Project website: www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/regionalism
- Dates: 2007-2009
In the absence of political devolution in England, the Government is committed to extending the responsibilities of the regional tier in delivering public policies. The Government's Guidance on Regional Funding Allocations (RFAs) (HM Treasury et al, 2005) is the latest in a raft of initiatives aimed at promoting greater sub-national discretion and coordination. These developments are significant. Yet, little is known about how regional actors are responding to this agenda or their capacity to deliver. This research will address this issue by providing an in-depth evaluation of the quality and rigour of regional decision making procedures for RFAs in all English regions. It will tell us precisely how the different resource capacities and objectives of regional stakeholders are being managed in efforts to achieve integration between (i) economic development, (ii) housing and (iii) transport policies and the extent to which regional policy making is underpinned by robust, inclusive and evidence based procedures. The research will identify what is supposed to be happing in terms of making decisions about RFAs, what is actually happening in each English region and how arrangements can be more effectively managed to bridge this gap.
For all research findings, please visit the project website.