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England’s Regional Development Agencies

Following the General Election, the Government is committed to building a new economic model. This includes the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships – joint local authority-business bodies brought forward by local authorities themselves to promote local economic development – to replace RDAs. In taking this work forward the Government wishes to ensure an orderly transition which maintains focus on delivery. Detailed proposals will follow in due course.


The eight Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) were established under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998, and were formally launched in eight English regions on 1 April 1999. The ninth, in London, was established in July 2000 following the establishment of the Greater London Authority (GLA). Responsibility for sponsorship of the RDAs moved from the former Department for the Environment, Transport & the Regions to DTI in 2001, then to BERR from Summer 2007 and now to BIS. Under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998, each Agency has five statutory purposes, which are:

  • To further economic development and regeneration
  • To promote business efficiency, investment and competitiveness
  • To promote employment
  • To enhance development and application of skill relevant to employment
  • To contribute to sustainable development

The RDAs' agenda includes regeneration, taking forward regional competitiveness, taking the lead on inward investment and, working with regional partners, ensuring the development of a skills action plan to ensure that skills training matches the needs of the labour market.