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Home > Publications > Freedom of Information - disclosures
 

Freedom of Information - disclosures

 

Subject/Request details: Output of the Bank’s Agents and a job description for the role
 
Date Released: 15 August 2011
 
Disclosure: The information below was provided in answer to the following questions:
 
‘a list of the “outputs” of the Agent for the South East (‘SE’) in terms of his/her formal reports (as district from the overall monthly reports published on your website) ... for the first six months of this year’
 
‘an account of your methodologies for assessing and reporting on regional economies’
 
‘information on how this methodology takes into account the disparities within regions.’
 
‘the job description for the role of Agents and the “business plan” for this part of the Bank’s activities’

 

The Bank publishes the ‘Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions’ which is available to view at www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/agentssummary/default.aspx.  The Agency for the South East gathers information and feeds this into the reports provided to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and the summary. 

 

Those reports, or any specific information contained within them, as this information is held by the Bank for the purposes ‘of its functions with respect to (a) monetary policy’ (see section 7 and the Bank of England entry in Schedule 1, Part VI FoI Act).  ... unlike other public authorities, Parts I to V of the FoI Act (including the general right of access under section 1) do not apply to information held by the Bank for this purpose. 
 
The Agency for the South East has 899 contacts (as at July 2011).  So far this year the Agent and Deputies have had one-to-one meetings with 331 of those contacts, and have met with another 172 contacts at various panels.  The Agency has also hosted visits from three MPC members this year, including a visit by Paul Tucker the Bank’s Deputy Governor for Financial Stability, who visited Thanet in July and along with the Agent listened to concerns of local businessmen.
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The following four articles are taken from editions of the Bank’s Quarterly Bulletin (QB) and give further detail on the role and work of the Bank’s Agencies:

 

‘The Bank’s regional Agencies’ (QB November 1997) sets out how the Agencies have come about from a historical perspective;
www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/qb/1997/qb970409.pdf
 
‘The Bank’s regional Agencies’ (QB Spring 2003) provides a comprehensive overview of the intelligence gathering role of the Agency network and how the Agents help to inform monetary policy.  It also covers the representational role of the Agents;
 www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/qb/2003/qb030105.pdf
 
‘Introducing the Agents’ scores’ (QB Winter 2005) covers the Agents’ scores, which quantify the qualitative intelligence gathered each month;
www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/qb050401.pdf
 
‘The Agents’ scores: a review’ (QB 2008 Q1) provides an update on their usefulness.
 www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/qb080103.pdf
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The following extract is from an internal job advert for the position of Agent.  This sets out the role of the Agent, what the job entails and the skills/competencies required to carry out this role: 

 

The Bank’s twelve Agencies are a critical link between the Monetary Policy Committee and the broader economy.  Their prominence in the policy process has increased substantially in recent years, and their outputs are highly rated, by MPC members, by the local communities in which they work and by outside commentators.   The Agent’s job is to lead the Agency, acting both as the Bank’s main representative in each area, and as its eyes and ears.  The role involves a mixture of management responsibility, senior-level visibility, autonomy and variety of workload that is hard to match elsewhere in the Bank.
 
The Job
 
The Agencies are the ‘eyes, ears and mouth’ of the MPC (and, where appropriate, the broader Bank) in their respective parts of the United Kingdom.  As the leader of the Agency team in the region, the Agent is responsible for the delivery of two key outputs: 
 
(i) the gathering, analysis and reporting of economic intelligence from businesses and other organisations in the region in order to equip the MPC to make high quality decisions;  and
 
(ii) the effective representation of the MPC’s (and, where appropriate, the broader Bank’s) key policy messages and analysis to business contacts and broader local audiences in the region, in order to support a widespread understanding and trust of the monetary policy framework.

 

 
In delivering these outputs, the Agent needs to ensure that:  (a) they provide effective leadership and management of the Agency team and resources; (b) the Agency develops and maintains a contact base that is representative, regularly refreshed and fit for purpose; and (c) the Agency contributes actively to the effective management and continuous improvement of all aspects of the Agency network
 
Skills/competences required
 
  • Energy and enthusiasm
  • Strong analytical skills, and a broad knowledge of the economics and business issues needed to assess the qualitative and quantitative information collected from contacts
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills for establishing and developing relationships with senior members of the business community and Bank staff, and for presenting information in a clear and effective way to a range of audiences, large and small
  • Sound discretion and judgement
  • An ability to gain a full understanding of the Bank’s approach to monetary policy and its policy framework more generally
  • Management experience
A full driving licence is required.
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