Whitehall needs to be straight: What powers is it willing to devolve? Central government need to cut the process, horsetrading and lay down their red lines. Then cities can have a proper debate on whether they agree with the possibilities or want to play along.
Favouratism must be addressed: City deals need to be underpinned and hooked back into a new national economic narrative. The treasury needs to do things which favour a variety of localities. We've had decades of treasury policy which has favoured the city. Whitehall needs to be more committed to re-addressing this.
Build a relationship between private and public sectors: It is about involving the private sector at the fulcrum of a reformed skills system, where they make the decisions to ensure that provision is driven by employer need. It's about them co-leading the decision making around the major infrastructure investments which will catalyse growth.
Does competitive bidding help? It depends what the funding is intended to achieve – who and where can deliver the greatest impact. The second wave of city deals was a competition but in the end the government decided to accept all offers for delivery of growth.
Geographical boundaries are a concern: Looking at areas of European growth, success stories cannot be captured with the use of city boundaries or terms like urban or rural. It's the magic of what will work that has captured local imagination and the vision of successful leaders.
We need strong partnerships: There's a stronger recognition now that local growth is best driven by meaningful local partnerships that know their areas. I think, irrespective of boundaries, the debate is there to be won on the proper local settlement that should come from this in the medium term.
Do we risk less innovation in the next round of city deals? It will utlimately come down to the appetite of the area for innovation and how compelling a case you can make to government. The cabinet office is very supportive and the first wave has shown that if you have a good enough idea then ministers will want to support it – whether it fits neatly into a core package or not. However, I think the real proof will be seen in November.
Genuine commitment is needed: Leaders of local areas (beyond the city) at a political and business level must be able to work collaboratively, identify genuine priorities, and be ready to challenge the status quo. They must be clear on what is required of government to make the deal work. Genuine commitment from government is also needed to back local areas to make the right decisions.
Cities must demonstrate that devolution is sustainable: The truth is that England is hugely dependent on London. The question remains, how do we drive growth outside London? If accountabilities are 'multiple, complex and overlapping' we need to work out how to make them work, as opposed to being barriers.
Let's reward good investment: The initial round of city deals were in my view, perhaps with the exception of Manchester, missing the underpinning of a robust and flexible resourcing model that rewarded good investment decisions and growth performance.
It's a matter of faith: The faith in local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and the faith in national agencies seem to be real issues that need further work in putting government's response to Heseltine into practice
Powers need to be fully devolved: I think that there is a risk that governance can be used as a tool for central government to decide how quickly and how far it will go around devolving powers. There are caveats in Heseltine's report about this. In a sense it turns into another bar to jump through.
What happens next is important: Post budget, decisions on whether the single pot will include skills and employment funding are important. We won't know this until the spending review in June. It's a big test for Heseltine implementation.
Businesses can help to get local economic policy right: LEPs need to show that they can represent the wider business constituency in their areas, small or medium enterprises as well as the big employers, for a true picture of business needs and priorities.