The paper explores the changing forms of governance currently being applied to the English further education sector - changes that emphasise the importance of locality. The paper sets the sector within its socio-economic and policy context, examining current policy changes that intend to alter the way in which the sector is managed. It relates these changes to their contextual location and to a set of conceptual notions that derive from a particular understanding of systems theory and what has been described as the new localism. It concludes that whilst these changing forms of governance are in continuity with earlier policies that had a regional dimension, they remain set on the terrain of performativity and new public sector management. Nevertheless, there remains a residual potential to develop more democratic forms of engagement in these changes.