Debates about the appropriate territorial scales of government to meet the challenges of economic, political and social change have gained momentum in Western Europe in recent years. In the UK, political mobilization has transformed constitutional arrangements in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. By contrast, in the English regions, a less radical approach has been adopted, but the outcome has been a strengthening of the institutions of regional governance. A key feature has been the enhanced responsibilities of the Government Offices for the Regions, which have been encouraged to build on their traditional administrative functions and adopt a more strategic role. This article explores the Offices' contribution to regional and local governance. Our central argument is that although increasingly expected to act as a bridgehead between national and sub-national government and a focus for regional policy coordination, their potential role in filling the missing gap in English regional governance has not yet been fully grasped.