The city region deals and local economic partnerships have been an important instrument of the UK’s government regeneration policy since 2010. In Wales, as with the rest of the UK, these partnerships have been funded by UK Government, and in Wales, they are also part funded and supported by Welsh Government. These city deals and partnerships are run by a consortia of local authorities working closely with the private sector, and other public bodies such as the health boards, and Universities. The four partnerships in Wales are all very different in nature, ranging from:
i) the heavily urban and post-industrial Cardiff Capital region, which include the vibrant capital city, Newport and a number of Valleys authorities and rural Monmouthshire,
ii) the Swansea Bay city region (which ranges across to Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire),
iii) the heavily rural Mid Wales Partnership
iv) the varied North Wales partnership, that ranges across a heavily rural area, but includes Airbus and Wylfa nuclear power station.
The challenge is to consider on what criteria should the success of these deals be measured?
Morgan Academy, in collaboration with Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), has hosted two major interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral conferences in 2019. The conferences examined different types of, and impacts of, City Region Deals, both internationally and within Wales. A further conference is planned for autumn 2020, which will explore and compare approaches to evaluation that integrate social value or ‘well-being’ as well as traditional economic metrics. In addition to this, funding has been secured from Coleg Cymraeg to conduct a study of the attitudes of young people towards opportunities for economic development and working within the Swansea Bay region.
Both this conference and the research will inform policy makers and those involved in the delivery of the Swansea Bay city region’s projects, how to evaluate the impact of the City Region deal and partnerships.