Decentralisation and devolution to the English regions: Assessing the implications for rural policy and delivery

Graham Pearce*, Sarah Ayres, Mike Tricker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The White Paper Your Region, Your Choice: Revitalising the English Regions opened the way for reforms to regional government in England which, it asserted, will improve decision-making and deliver better quality services. In the field of rural policy, too, there are demands for decentralisation to improve service delivery and reflect the diversity of rural areas. Drawing upon a case study of rural policy making and implementation in the English West Midlands, this paper explores current institutional structures for rural policy making and how further administrative decentralisation or political devolution might enhance them. It reveals a complex set of fragmented structures and blurred accountabilities in which policy implementation is an outstanding concern. The Government's administrative reforms, together with proposals to decentralise responsibility for rural service delivery, may assist in promoting greater differentiation and co-ordination at the regional tier. Nonetheless, in the absence of the transfer of significant resources and influence to an elected regional body, efforts to establish a more distinct and coherent approach to rural policy-making and delivery will continue to be hampered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005


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