The RSA is one of several partners supporting the Public Administration Committee Spring Conference in Leeds between the 21st and 23rd of March 2018.  This Conference comes at a crucial time in the future of local government and in the devolution process, and designed to bring academics and policymakers together to consider the long-term future of the fledgling UK combined authorities.

There are some positive signs in the patchwork quilt of combined governance arrangements with new models of mayoral governance, although some see the fragmentation and lack of resources and consistency in England, with anxieties compounded by BREXIT negotiations and the lack of clarity on a futuue with no European funding.

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.

The PAC conference will examine the latest research and key issues which need to be tackled to strengthen local government and combined authorities; it will look at successes, difficulties and failures, focusing on what needs to happen 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 and at the forefront of plans to strengthen economic development, social cohesion and cultural regeneration. The PAC conference 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.

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.

RSA members benefit from a 25% discount on the conference fee.

Read Frances Perraudin's article in the The Observer

Read Simon Jenkins' article in the Guardian​