Report points out agencies' obstructions

Conflicting policies, delays in project approval and inappropriate performance targets are hampering the work of regional development agencies (RDAs), according to a report published this week.

A National Audit Office (NAO) report on RDA performance recommends government departments to adopt a more hands-off approach and allow agencies to get on with encouraging economic development.

The document praises RDAs' track record to date but reports that agencies believe too much emphasis is placed on short-term targets that do not relate to tackling regional priorities.

RDAs have also told the NAO about experiences that highlight problems with Whitehall departments. Both the East Midlands and the Northwest Development Agencies faced delays as a result of government project approval processes, the report notes.

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