The debate over the “right” level of governance rumbles on, with politicians and think-tanks making the case for city regions (Centre for Cities Outlook 2010, and director Dermot Finch’s blog), regional development agencies (the National Framework for Regional and Local Economic Development identifies a pivotal role for the regional tier in joining up national and local priorities, while the Conservative position on RDAs is not yet clear), multi area agreements (the New Local Government Network runs the MAA forum), unitaries (eg see former Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford’s article in the MJ) and many other weird and wonderful creations.
This is important stuff, but pity the intelligence teams who have to understand performance data for each and all of these areas, monitor progress for local priority neighbourhoods, and do Total Place-style analysis that combines spending and service data from service organisations covering different areas.
To help central and local analysis teams understand performance for complex geographies, OCSI are working with Communities and Local Government, Work and Pensions, and the Office for National Statistics. As part of this project we’ll be developing tools to help researchers model data to small areas, understand how to develop robust data for functional economic areas (a key component of local economic assessments), and developing National Indicator data for the Thames Gateway and other areas. We’ll be posting more about our work on the project as it develops, but if you’re interested then contact us.