Editor's Comment

01.06.16

Devolution: we are where we are

Source: PSE Jun/Jul 16

Despite the process for English devolution being criticised as ‘piecemeal’ and lacking ‘clear objectives’, we are now starting to see the transfer of some powers and budgetary control from Whitehall to Town Halls. 

In this edition of PSE we catch up with several devolution signatories, and while some admit the process is at times like a ‘double-edged sword’ due to the fluid nature of negotiations, the majority are happy with their progress and how it could develop in the future. 

Whether we need external devolution commissions, as academics have suggested, to improve the process is one for greater debate – but we are where we are with the current deals. 

What could be interesting is the impact devolution has on local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), as the government shifts its focus more towards mayors and combined authorities. The National Audit Office recently stated that LEPs, which replaced regional development agencies five years ago, suffer from a lack of government oversight, especially around Growth Deals. This is, perhaps, an issue to keep a watchful eye on. 

Elsewhere in this edition, we look at how opening up the water market in April next year will affect the sector. Adam Cooper, director of retail market opening at Ofwat, explains on p79 what these changes will mean for organisations. 

There is also a focus on professional development across the sector, with interesting contributions from the CIPD, District Councils’ Network and Socitm. And Chris Painter, Emeritus Professor of public policy and management at Birmingham City University, has provided a fascinating insight into the taken-for-granted assumptions shaping public governance and management. 

We have a preview of the upcoming Health+Care show, which runs from 29-30 June at London’s ExCeL. Once again, PSE is the official media partner for the event, and the team will be there for the duration. We will also be chairing the sessions in the Local Authority Theatre on the second day of the show. If you’re going to the event, please do pop by our stand, F125. Turn to p43 for our show guide and preview. 

Have a look over the page for the rest of my recommendations and some of the highlights in this issue of PSE.

David Stevenson

Editor

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