Posted by: James Kennell | February 19, 2010

Regeneration governance relationships

I’m working at the moment on a set of documents that I’m calling the ‘seaside regeneration archive’*. These are, at the moment, 84 policy documents relating to seaside regeneration.  The reason that I’m working with them as an archive is because it is impossible to pick up a single document and say that THIS is regeneration policy.  Regeneration is multi-disciplinary, both in terms of the range of government agencies and other stakeholders involved in policy and in the way it is funded and delivered. Because of this, it is only possible to arrive at a view on regeneration policy as a whole by analysing a wide range of policy sources.

To do this, I’m using Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software which allows me to code and search through large amounts of textual information. One of the things it helps with is in constructing visual representations of written data. I’ve just finished coding and analysing one set of documents for this project and the first visual model I’ve constructed is below. It aims to show the complexity of governance and delivery relationships for regeneration schemes. Of course, like any model, it is an over-simplification. The next models I post on here will add layers of detail, focusing in first on the south east and then on each of the three seaside towns that I’m studying.


HMT = Treasury

DCLG = Department for Communities and Local Government

DCMS  = Department for Culture, Media and Sport

CITYR = City Regions (their role still unclear)

HCA = Homes and Communities Agency

LGOV = Local government

GOS = Government Office

RDA = Regional Development Agency

DVs = Delivery Vehicles

Third S / Private S = Third / Private Sector

*This is a conscious reference to the work of Derek McGhee, who discusses the ‘community cohesion archive’ in a similarly diverse field of public policy



  1. Hi James,

    I’m worried by this diagram. Firstly, there are eight entities with a governance function and only three with a delivery function. Secondly, the three delivery entities (DV, Third S and Private S) take no part in the “Single Conversation”. Thirdly there’s no entity representative of the end users.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong – in fact I think you’re spot on. It’s just that on the assumption you’re right, the diagram suggests it is unlikely that much will be achieved through regeneration projects, that the governance bodies aren’t including the delivery bodies in an inclusive single conversation and that end users have no place in the process.

    Have I missed something?

  2. It is worrying isn’t it? Even bearing in mind that is is a very simplified model.

    There are various points in the governance framework at which public consultation can take place or where a statutory ‘duty to involve’ kicks in, but the structure of these relationships shows how limited end user involvement is.

    I think what this system represents is the legacy of the this government’s attempts to devolve public policy governance generally. Anecdotally, I suspect the picture for health and transport for example, are quite similar. Most of the top-down discussions of devolution in this process have led to the creation of new forms of partnership and sometimes new institutions. There has then been the expectation that those involved in these new arrangements will be consultative in their practices and that this will ‘filter-up’ into the regeneration policy arena at a higher level.

    I’m hoping that the next few models I post up, which focus more tightly on specific geographical areas and projects will help to unpick this, but I’m not particularly optimistic about whether this will show a more inclusive set of relationships ‘on the ground’.

  3. I look forward to seeing your next few models. It would be great if your work might help clarify where “governance pruning” might be possible.

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