PAC Spring Conference in Leeds: Moving Beyond Devolution

PAC Spring Conference in Leeds, 21st to 23rd March: Moving Beyond Devolution

We write to invite you to participate in the Public Administration Committee Spring Conference in Leeds - supported by Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the Key Cities Network, Regional Studies Association, Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University and Leeds Business School, and Leeds Beckett University.

The Conference comes at a crucial time in the future of local government and in the devolution process. It is designed to bring academics and policymakers together to consider not just the immediate short-term problems, but the long-term future of the fledgling UK combined authorities. Some see positive signs in the patchwork quilt of combined governance arrangements with new models of mayoral governance. Others see fragmentation in England and a lack of resources and consistency. Anxieties are compounded by the BREXIT negotiations and the lack of clarity on what will happen when European funding disappears.

Will any of these be maintained in addition to the current interest in continued involvement in the EU Horizon 2020?

Combined authorities are at the forefront of city and strategic planning and need more resources and capacity if they are respond to the changing needs of their populations over the coming decade. Housing, transport, social care, economic development, inward investment and skills are pressing, particularly so in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as in the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine, where there will be much work to change the pace of transformation and catch up with the south of England.

This conference will be examining the latest research and the key issues which need to be tackled to strengthen local government and combined authorities in the period ahead.  It will also look at the successes, the difficulties and failures. It will focus on what needs to change and what needs to be done to strengthen skills and training in public sector development and management.

Leeds City Region is a success story in terms of partnership and economic growth; at the forefront of plans to strengthen economic development, social cohesion and cultural regeneration. The conference will start by hearing from the principal actors from the city and city region, and then, from the viewpoints of different individuals and institutions, it will explore themes of leadership in economic regeneration, growth, and development.

Key speakers already confirmed include: Andy Burnham, Roger Marsh, and Barry White of Transport for the North.

Leadership in cities and city regions and combined authorities is a topic which the PAC and RSA have been paying particular attention to in recent years.  Consensus building, increasing flexibilities for local government, new forms of finance and increasing resources for delivery of new programmes will all be key topics of the conference. This is a key conference coming at a critical juncture for regional development, coming at a moment where we all need to develop ideas and move the devolution agenda back onto the front page again. We want to hear your views, and we look forward to welcoming you to Leeds.

For more information, please contact:

Professor Joyce Liddle
Newcastle Business School
Northumbria University
City Campus East
M: 07775 406073

Professor John Shutt
Leeds Business School
Room 425, Rose Bowl
Portland Crescent
M: 07710 094970

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