Government must learn from local regeneration schemes, says report

Lessons from area-based regeneration
initiatives are rarely transferred to mainstream services, a
two-year research project published last week reveals.

study was commissioned by the then Department of Environment,
Transport and the Regions and looked at nine area-based initiatives
in six localities between 1999 and 2001. It finds that most
area-based initiatives distract from thinking about and responding
to core problems in mainstream services.

report looks at collaboration and co-ordination between education
action zones, employment zones, health action zones, New Deal for
the Communities, New Start, Sure Start, community legal service
partnerships, the crime reduction programme and the out-going
single regeneration budget.

highlights the inadequate mechanisms in place for ensuring that
successful initiatives continue, whether in the mainstream or as
projects. It also points to the lack of commitment to long-term

report recommends that central and local government “should invest
in the transfer of learning from area-based initiatives into
mainstream delivery. Reconfiguring the mainstream to think in area
terms may be necessary in order to achieve genuine change in
mainstream programmes.

“Alternatively, area-based
initiatives must be recognised as being experiments grounded in
mainstream thinking rather than being the marginal one-off
initiatives they currently seem to be for many mainstream

report, produced by the University of the West of England, Bristol,
the University of Newcastle and the Office for Public Management,
acknowledges the recent policy shift away from small-area
approaches towards mainstream programmes and strategic
partnerships, particularly in the light of the Neighbourhood
Renewal Strategy Action Plan.

report counsels against local strategic partnerships overstretching
themselves or becoming “talking shops”.

Collaboration and Co-ordination in Area-Based Initiatives


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