Stoke Staffs LEP
LEP prepares to expand its role
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LEP prepares to expand its role

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is starting preparations for an expanded role helping our area’s economy to grow following the Government’s Review of Local Enterprise Partnerships, published this week.

The review’s proposals, which include £20m additional funding for the 38 LEPs across England, aim to enable LEPs to continue to build on their strengths as unique business-led local organisations, brokering business partnerships, developing local Industrial Strategies, and setting the economic direction that shapes their local area.

In return for building their reformed role, LEP business leaders want to see a commitment from government to the funding and means to deliver the scale of opportunity that the review offers.

LEP leaders also want to see a joint commitment from government departments to the localism agenda, and confirmation that LEPs will oversee the local allocations of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU funding after Brexit.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised the important role that LEPs have to play as business-led organisations shaping and driving economic growth with policies that are tailored to local needs and aspirations.

“We look forward to continuing our task of bringing more and better jobs to our region, raising skills levels and promoting Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire as a great place to live, work, do business and invest.

“We expect to be working closely with our partners and Government in shaping our future responsibilities and in securing the funding and other resources that we will require to sustain a thriving economy and help local communities to flourish.”

The key areas the review looked at include:

  • The roles and responsibilities of LEPs.
  • Leadership and organisational capacity – including induction and training and ‘capacity funding’
  • Accountability and performance
  • LEP legal structures.
  • Increasing representation and diversity on LEP boards.
  • LEP geographies and boundaries – including removing overlaps and examining mergers.
  • The role of the LEP Network in supporting LEPs.

The government will work with LEPs to develop revised proposals for their geography by 28 September 2018 and a detailed plan for implementing the changes before 31 October 2018.

Publication of the review follows on from the Prime Minister’s first Council of LEP Chairs held in June, as part of their ongoing role in developing local Industrial Strategies, and preparing for implementation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry MP, said: “We’ve committed over £9 billion to help LEPs through three rounds of Growth Deals to deliver on their investment priorities, while creating new and exciting economic opportunities for local businesses and communities across the country.