An independent assessment of three Regional Development Agencies – One North East (ONE), South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) – has concluded that ONE and SEEDA are performing strongly and SWRDA is performing well.
The assessments by the National Audit Office are based on five criteria: ambition, prioritisation, capacity, performance management and achievement. The RDAs conducted a self assessment exercise across the five themes and the NAO then examined the assessments and conducted a review of a wide range of documents. They also carried out intensive on site work with interviews, focus groups and reviews of the systems and processes used.
The performance of each RDA was then scored to give an overall rating of performing strongly, well, adequately or inadequately.
ONE scored 22 points out a possible 24, which is equivalent to performing strongly; SEEDA scored 21 points, also performing strongly; and SWRDA scored 18, which is regarded as performing well.
ONE was found to be performing strongly on ambition, performance management and achievement, and performing well on prioritisation and capacity. SEEDA is performing strongly on ambition and achievement, and performing well on prioritisation, capacity and performance management. SWRDA is performing strongly on ambition and performing well on prioritisation, performance management and achievement, and performing adequately on capacity.
The RDAs will review their practices and Improvement Plans against the NAO’s recommendations, in order to determine how they could improve performance. They will then develop the final versions of the Plans which will be agreed with the NAO in the near future.
These assessments are the second in a series of reviews the government asked the NAO to carry out. The first round, published earlier this year, looked at the North of England Development Agency and the East of England Development Agency. The assessment of the remaining 3 RDAs, completing the coverage of all eight RDAs outside of London, will be published by March 2007.