Civic Engagement in the English Regions
Peter Mandelson is unlikely to have had the English regions in mind when he said, in March 1998, that ‘it may be that we live in a time when the era of pure representative democracy is coming to an end’ (Sunday Times, Mar 20 1998), but the unusual representative arrangements and range of participants on Regional Chambers suggest that, at the English regional tier, his statement was prescient. Regional Chambers, and regional networks, are characterised by the fact that they treat as equals three different categories of participant: local authority councillors; senior officials and board members of regional executive agencies; and representatives of a wide range of organisations which I define here as part of ‘civil society’. On Regional Chambers, the latter categories of participant are known as Social and Economic Partners (SEPs) or Social, Economic and Environmental Partners (SEEPs); they have also been referred to as ‘community stakeholders’ and ‘ESPs’. I use ‘partners’ or ‘SEPs’ to refer to them in this chapter.
KeywordsArena Stake Harness Monopoly
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