Jeremy Blackburn, Head of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs at RICS

Member Article

RICS: "clarity for Sheffield when discussing devolution"

Today, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has called for the Government to provide greater clarity and guidance for Sheffield and other UK cities looking to extend their devolved powers.

RICS has also stated that while greater devolved powers are the key to more infrastructure and construction projects being delivered on time and to budget, local government will need guidance on how best to reap these benefits.

The call comes as the Conservative Government unveiled its Summer Budget 2015 and set out a Productivity Plan which outlines the new powers Sheffield will receive as the result of greater devolution.

RICS warns that areas of the UK set for devolution – including Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle – need guidance on how their Local Governments can work together effectively once greater autonomy is given to them.

In addition, RICS is calling for greater cost and project management to be delivered via public and private sector collaboration which could be leveraged further as a result of devolution.

As part of a package of recommendations, RICS has called for the Government to supply Local Government and their many delivery partners with a prospectus which outlines exactly what powers they can apply for. Without clarity, there is a risk that more confusion could be added to an already intricate planning and delivery pipeline – leading to further blockages in local construction and infrastructure pipelines.

Jeremy Blackburn, Head of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs at RICS, said:

“The plan to devolve new powers to Sheffield is progressing well and could well become a full reality in the not-too-distant future. It is now vital that other UK regions follow this decentralisation path and government must provide guidance for Local Government and regional delivery partners to know what powers are on offer and how they can be used effectively.

“Given that there can be lots of bodies and stakeholder organisations working in a single region, greater clarity also needs to be given as to how powers can be implemented in order to enhance, not hinder, the frameworks of governance already in place. It’s simply not enough for Westminster to decentralise power. That won’t necessarily lead to more jobs or housing in the local area.

“We need to give more guidance and support to Local Governments as well as increased powers when it comes to local infrastructure and construction projects – this being something RICS sets out in its most recent Property in Politics paper. Devolution should also give our cities and regions the power to work more collaboratively with private sector organisations.

“One measure we are calling for is the power for Local Government to forge ‘Olympic Style’ Infrastructure Delivery Partnerships to ensure that projects come online quicker and are delivered on time and to budget.”

For more information on RICS and its devolution policy, visit: www.RICS.org

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For more information about devolution in the UK regions, visit www.rics.org and for any media enquiries contact tom.ladds@kindredagency.com or call 020 7010 0807.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Thomas Ladds .

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