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Paper 4 - 27 March 1998 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

27 March 1998

THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (RDA) AND THE REGIONAL

CHAMBER FOR THE SOUTH EAST REGION

Paper by the Policy Officer

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the nominations set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 be endorsed.

SUMMARY

The Regional Development Agencies (RDA) Bill has had its second reading in the House of Commons. This report is an update on preparation for a South East RDA and a South East Regional Chamber. The paper also reports on nominations to the proposed RDA Board.

PREPARATION FOR THE RDA

1. The Government is taking steps to appoint people who will form the Board of the RDA as soon as the legislation has Royal Assent. Government advertisements in the press have already invited self-nomination. The Regional Director for the South East, who leads in advising Ministers on appointments to the RDA Board, has written to "regional stakeholders" inviting nominations by the end of March. Local authority nominees were co-ordinated by the South East Regional Forum (SERF) as a result of which the following candidates from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have been put forward to Ministers:

Councillor Steve Cowley (HIOW Vice Chair/Isle of Wight Council)

Councillor Adrian Collett (Hampshire County Council)

A total of seventeen candidates have been put forward by SERF. The Board is expected to have only four members representing local government in the South East.

2. This Association has consulted member authorities about non-local authority candidates for the other eight members of the Board (the proposal is that the Board should have twelve members in total). There was unanimous support for the nomination of Mr Bryan Davies, Chairman of the Hampshire Economic Partnership. The Association has therefore written to the South East Regional Forum secretariat to endorse Mr Davies' nomination. Bryan Davies is a Director of Pirelli General PLC and a main Council member of the CBI.

3. If the legislation proceeds as planned, the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) expect that Ministers will be in a position to identify a Board Chair (and possibly a Deputy) by July 1998. The normal procedure would be for the Chair to be taken on by GOSE on a temporary consultancy contract in order to assist with preparation for the Board.

4. When Royal Assent is received (some time from July - November) the Board will formally be appointed in Shadow form. The draft legislation anticipates that the RDA will start work in April 1999.

PREPARATION FOR THE REGIONAL CHAMBER

5. The SERF Executive Committee has been invited by GOSE to draw up options for the establishment of an RDA-related Regional Chamber. The Regional Chamber needs to

* involve partner organisations and interests ("regional stakeholders")

* cover the same boundary as the RDA

* represent the views of 72 local authorities

* not be too large a body.

The SERF boundary takes in the whole of the South-East planning region which is the RDA area plus Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. SERF's wide boundary is needed to bring together authorities surrounding London in order to:

(a) co-operate in relation to London

(b) assist local government to have maximum influence on regional planning guidelines

(c) work together on area cost adjustment and other issues which are relevant to the whole of the South East.

6. SERF is therefore moving towards a model for a Regional Chamber whose local authority members are drawn from the main body of SERF. SERF will issue a consultation paper to all local authorities in the GOSE area and is likely to seek responses by the end of May. This Association will therefore be able to consider the matter at its next meeting. It may well be that the debate on the structure of the Chamber means that a decision is not made until the SERF conference on 17 July.

7. Establishment of a Regional Chamber alongside the RDA would require appointments to be made to the Chamber by October 1998. It is therefore expected that nominations for Chamber membership would be invited during August/September.

NICK GOULDER
Policy Officer

Last update: 07/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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