The conservative government has mad it clear that Government Agencies don’t set policy they implement it. However the Arc framework will be National Policy. So will they comment in public on key proposals in the emerging framework. If they don’t, and just do so behind closed doors then there will be definite public concerns over lack of transparency. Equally however lack of cooperation by agencies has been a major barrier to meeting housing needs. Frequently you see the dark hidden hand of the Highways Agency blocking plans for Garden Communities anywhere near the M25 etc.
A couple of points. Firstly there are considerable lessons to be learned from the work of the Key Agencies Group in shaping revisions of the Scottish National Planning Framework.
Secondly agencies do not always mirror functions. There is a Highways Agency, not a transport Agency. There is no longer CABE but a mix of the Design Council and the new Place directorate. Now is a time to reform some agencies so they are fit for purpose in delivering National Policy Objectives and giving good coordinated advice. Growth has to go somewhere which means many of the agencies having to produce joined up solutions for difficult issues such as impact on European Habitat sites and impact on the strategic roads network.