Cash boost supports reform of local enterprise partnerships

27 Jul 18

The government will give local enterprise partnerships a £20m injection to supercharge economic growth, it has been announced.

The cash boost will be made available between 2018–20 to implement changes to leadership, governance and accountability in LEPs, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has said.

In a report published on 24 July, Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships, it proposes a raft of reforms.

These include supporting LEPs to consult widely and transparently when appointing new chairs, improving board diversity, and introducing a requirement for women to make up a third of boards by 2020 and achieve equal representation by 2023.

James Brokenshire, communities secretary, said: “This publication on the Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships policy represents a step change in approach for LEPs.

“We will continue our work to strengthen these leading institutions to develop ambitious strategies for growth and build an economy which is fit for the future.”

Mark Crane, spokesperson for the District Councils Network ‘Stronger Economies Workstream’, said: “To ensure these are successful it remains crucial that district councils – as the housing, planning and local growth authorities with the tools to deliver local economic growth – are fully represented on LEPs to align strategic policies and ensure democratic accountability.

“We also want to ensure that going forward there remains the flexibility to cover other functioning economic areas that exist in the UK.”

Another MHCLG proposal is to create a mandate for LEPs to submit plans for revised geographies that would, for example, seek to avoid overlaps.

Crane said DCN was “concerned” that this may limit the ability of district councils to drive growth across multiple LEP areas.

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