NWDA: 500 staff gone from partner organisations

The speed of the wind down of the North West Development Agency, the region's largest regeneration and economic quango for the past decade, has been detailed in the latest board minutes.

Mark Hughes, chief executive of the NWDA, delivered a paper updating colleagues on the plans for closure in April 2012. Hughes said "contract renegotiations had resulted in an estimated 500-plus redundancies in partner and delivery organisations." These partners include area-based organisations like Preston Vision, New East Manchester as well as sector-related bodies such as Envirolink Northwest.

See links to NWDA closure plan and board minutes below

Inside the NWDA itself, headquartered in Warrington, the head-count at March 2011 stood at 326. Around 90 left in October 2010 after the public spending review confirmed the reduction in budget and activity. Another 101 will leave on 7 July, 77 in spring summer this year, 61 in autumn and the remaining 87 in March 2012. These figures do not include staff transferring to Department of Communities and Local Government and other centralised departments.

The team managing the European Regional Development Fund, for instance, will transfer to government on 1 July; the £625m North West ERDF programme continues until the end of 2013. Inward investment staff are moving to UK Trade & Industry.

Hughes said the agency had 1,241 open projects going into the new financial year, beginning April 2011, and that of these: 281 were due to be closed within 2011/12 as part of normal business; 468 would transfer to government; 351 had monitoring requirements beyond the life of NWDA and National Audit Office was arranging to monitor them; and 141 remained 'live' with the NWDA.

The minutes continued: "The [chief executive's] report noted NWDA's approach to reducing other areas of 'non programme' potential overhang [after April 2012], including assets and liabilities, venture capital, corporate interests, NWDA estate and reviewing the huge volume of records.

"The Board noted the resource plan and that the timing and nature of any assets and liabilities transfer to the Homes & Communities Agency would have a big impact on NWDA's Wave 3 [final redundancy round in March 2012] numbers. It was agreed that the Resource Plan would in future come to the board at least quarterly."

The board minutes for the 17 May meeting have not been published.

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