the future of troubled regeneration quango English Partnerships became clearer this week after the government published the first phase of a review into its role and it announced the appointment of a new chairman.
The first phase of the review into EP by management consultant KPMG has found that there is duplication of effort and a lack of focus in regeneration strategy. The review’s main thrust is to spell out the relative functions of EP and the regional development agencies.

KPMG has responded to calls for EP’s powers to be curtailed by recommending that it lose responsibility for non-strategic new town land. KPMG says this land should be controlled by local authorities or RDAs. The next phase of the review will define the meaning of “strategic” land.

KPMG also recommends that RDAs should decide whether they or EP should lead a regeneration project, and it says EP would not as a rule be permitted to take forward a project without agreement with an RDA.

Regeneration minister Lord Falconer said: “RDAs are plainly the lead body in the regions – that’s why the review makes clear that EP’s role is on national strategic projects.” The likelihood is that EP will now concentrate on large-scale schemes such as the Greenwich Peninsula.

RDAs are the lead bodies in the regions – that’s why the review says EP’s role is on strategic projects

Regeneration minister Lord Falconer

Falconer said the abolition of EP had been considered, but had been dismissed. The second stage of the review will examine the future of the regeneration body’s strategic role.

Margaret Ford, 44, a former executive director of social housing regulatory body Scottish Homes, will take over as chair of EP next month. She replaces Sir Alan Cockshaw, who left last October.

Ford is relatively unknown in the construction and development worlds, although her appointment was backed by Falconer, who said she was the most talented candidate.