A decade of decentralisation? Assessing the role of the government offices for the English regions
Musson, S., Tickell, A. and John, P. (2005) A decade of decentralisation? Assessing the role of the government offices for the English regions. Environment and Planning A, 37 (8). pp. 1395-1412. ISSN 0308-518X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1068/a36253
The Government Offices for the English regions were established in 1994 to coordinate the regional activities of three central government departments. A decade on, regional government in England is greatly expanded, and two other institutions of regional governance, the Regional Development Agencies and the Regional Assemblies, have also been created. In 2002 the Labour government proposed that this 'triad' of regional governance should be further reformed and strengthened, in some places being brought to democratic account. In this paper, we argue that academic research on the English regions has generally focused on the Regional Development Agencies and to a lesser extent the Regional Assemblies, to the exclusion of the Government Offices. This focus has led some to overstate the extent to which regional government represents the real decentralisation of power. Focusing on the role of the Government Offices, we argue that central government retains a great deal of power over the 'triad' institutions, which in their current form may be unable to challenge the structure of power in the English state.