Quango Board of the Week: Week Two

April 02, 2008 5:15 PM

This week we bring you the management board of West Midlands in Europe, and you can rest assured - there are some familiar names in here...

A brief description of the body in their own words:

“West Midlands in Europe is the representative office for the West Midlands region in Brussels.
Established in 2000 as a broad membership based partnership, building on twenty years of local authority presence in Brussels, West Midlands in Europe brings together regional partners to engage in evolving EU policy and legislation which will impact on the region and to participate in EU funding opportunities to support regional priorities.”

“We provide a range of services for our members, guided by regional priorities.

With high quality offices in the heart of Brussels, we provide professional expertise and advice to West Midlands organisations, with on the spot information and intelligence on upcoming EU policy and funding. Our contacts and networks in the EU institutions and with other regions and organisations in Brussels provide a strong base to support effective engagement with regional partners. Partners are also encouraged to share expertise.”

Any the wiser? No? Here’s the board:

Dr Isabella Moore CBE, Chair
Director of the National Centre for Languages

Cllr Sir Albert Bore, Vice Chair
Birmingham City Council, WMLGA

John Cole
Chair, West Midlands in Europe User Panel, Corporate Development Director of the NEC Group

David Brown
Arthur D Little, AWM

David Burton
Chairman of Confederation of West Midlands Chambers of Commerce

John Edwards
Chief Executive – AWM

Tim Gebbels
Director of Strategy – AWM

Cllr Martin Heatley
Warwickshire County Council, WMLGA

Paul Richards
Deputy Vice Chancellor External Developments, Staffordshire University

Cllr David S Smith
Leader of Lichfield District Council, WMLGA

Cllr Paul Tilsley
Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council and Director of West Midlands European Network, WMLGA

Jerry Hutchinson, Secretary
Chief Executive of North Warwickshire District Council

Olwen Dutton (Ex Officio)
Chief Executive, West Midlands Regional Assembly


The website tells us:

"The Management Board's composition reflects the structure of West Midlands in Europe itself - four members from each of the Principal Management Members: Advantage West Midlands and the West Midlands Local Government Association, one representative from each of the Senior Members: West Midlands Higher Education Association and the Confederation of West Midlands Chambers of Commerce, and three representing the other sectors in the partnership."

Lots of talk about partnership and engagements, but very little meat as to what tangible benefits there are for the taxpayers’ who fund this large, expensive set-up (including the high spec offices in Brussels).

A quick look at their ‘What’s New’ section (which features very little that could realistically be regarded as ‘new’) reveals an interesting little write-up about Birmingham City Council hosting 7 Swedes from the SISU, the Football Federation and the Sports Federation. We are informed that ‘this was no holiday’ (protesting too much?) and that they came all the way to the UK to do the following:
- Exchange experiences with other organisations that promote social inclusion in sport.
- Watch young footballers training
- Appear on the radio


Sounds gruelling…

The article also assures us (just in case we were worried) that the visit will be reciprocated by representatives from Birmingham. Good to hear.

Should we really be paying for this?


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