The East Midlands Development Agency is working on plans to establish a series of "mini-regional development agencies" across the region.

The sub-agencies will attempt to translate the action plans and overall economic strategy of EMDA into delivery.

EMDA is to make the move after its board decided that sub-regions in east Midlands faced unique problems that could be better tackled by devolved bodies. EMDA chairman Derek Mapp said: "We are going to empower sub-regional partnerships. What we do in Lincolnshire, for example, is different from what we do in Leicestershire."

Mapp added that seven or eight sub-agencies will be formed, with between 10 and 15 people on each executive committee.

SSP boundaries are yet to be defined, but each should cover a population of 300,000 to 350,000 people and will not necessarily follow city or county boundaries.

Mapp hopes to see the first SSPs to be up and running by April next year, in time for the change in RDA funding. As of April, RDAs will have more control over their own purse-strings and have a 25% increase in budget to £1.5bn.

Since their inception two years ago, RDAs have become increasingly important players in the regeneration process. Mapp said: "There is a greater confidence than in 1999."