Local Enterprise Partnerships have been tasked by the UK Government to develop Local Industrial Strategies to help create more prosperous communities and tackle the vast regional and local disparities that exist across the UK. 

A Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) should bring together a strong, well-informed evidence base about an area’s economy and outline a long-term set of priorities that capitalise on existing opportunities, address weaknesses and resolve an area’s needs.

Why is a good evidence base important?

A thorough understanding of local economies (their strengths, weakness and spatial distribution) will inform local and national decision making in the future. Therefore, it is imperative that we invest time in developing a good evidence base:

Hertfordshire's economic evidence base

Economic Outlook 2018
Brexit and Hertfordshire
Skills and Labour Market Review 2018
East of England Science and Innovation Audit
Loss of Employment Space
Hertfordshire Infrastructure and Funding Prospectus

How is it different from the Strategic Economic Plan?

Here in Hertfordshire a lot of the groundwork has been done already with our Strategic Economic Plan, which was refreshed in 2017 and is economically sound. Our Local Industrial Strategy will build on the priorities set out in our SEP: 

Priority 1: Maintaining global excellence in science and technology
Priority 2:
Harnessing our relationships with London and elsewhere
Priority 3:
Reinvigorating our places for the 21st Century
Priority 4:
Foundations for growth

The focus for the Local Industrial Strategy will be on how we can boost productivity and will be used to inform choices at local and national levels. It is not a bidding document. There is no new funding directly attached to the Local Industrial Strategy; in order for a Local Industrial Strategy to be agreed with Government it should be achievable within funding streams that already exist.

However, Local Industrial Strategies will help to inform how existing funds such as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and future place-based funds are allocated, along with a wide range of other local and national funding streams as set out across the Industrial Strategy. This may include the Strength in Places Fund, Transforming Cities Fund, Cultural Development Fund and others.

Each LEP area has been assigned an additional £200k funding in 2019/2020 from Government to help with development, with a range of support available.

Stakeholder engagement and consultation

Collaboration is key. We are working with a wide range of partners, including corporates, universities, think tanks and economists, business representative organisations, the not-for-profit sector and local authority leaders to develop the evidence base and help shape our priorities.

This engagement process is ongoing and includes a series of roundtables on emerging place and sectoral emerging priorities, larger business forums, debates and regional workshops with neighbouring LEP areas, and countywide conferences.

The Hertfordshire Business Survey is one mechanism for gauging views on business performance in relation to the five Foundations of Productivity. Once the Local Industrial Strategy document has been drafted, it will go out to full public consultation before a lengthy sign off process with Government which is expected to take up to three months. The aim is for all Local Industrial Strategies to be produced by March 2020.


Using the evidence base and stakeholder engagement process, the LIS will focus on the most important interventions to improve productivity in our area. These priorities must be robust, stand up to scrutiny and be strongly future facing, addressing some of the Grand Challenges, where appropriate, with links to the Five Foundations of Productivity.

Our emerging priorities focus on areas of opportunity linked to place, sectoral and foundational importance and address identified areas of weakness. These are:

  1. East-West Growth Axis (A414 corridor) looking at possible digital solutions to transport constraints; sector potential via Enterprise Zones and influencing future housing growth.
  2. Stevenage Innovation District supporting its emerging cell and gene cluster of global significance
  3. Scale-Up and skills attainment removing the barriers to growth and productivity in our workplaces and workforces
  4. London fringe managing the impact of the iterative growth of London on this economy; opportunities linked to its film and TV industries; digital growth and the future world of work, and town centre regeneration.
  5. Loss of employment land collectively responding to the substantial loss of commercial floorspace across Hertfordshire and the negative impact Permitted Development Rights has on the local economy and the ability to create sustainable balanced communities.

Key events to date

Hertfordshire: State of the Economy 2018
We kick-started a Hertfordshire wide conversation to support the development of a Local Industrial Strategy for the county at our State of the Economy event, November 2018. Businesses, academia, not for profit and public sector organisations contributed to discussions on emerging priorities to grow the economy, drive up productivity and embrace new technologies to support innovation. 

Hertfordshire: Back to the Future 
We are building on Hertfordshire's historic strengths and pioneering spirit to develop a Local Industrial Strategy that can help the county become a UK testbed. Underpinned by Government’s five foundations of productivity, the strategy will help ensure Hertfordshire remains ‘Fit for the Future’. Find out how:

Hertfordshire: Towards a Local Industrial Strategy 
At our Annual Conference on 29 March 2018, we set out our approach, Grand Challenges for Hertfordshire, which was endorsed by Business Minster Richard Harrington. We also launched our Grand Challenge Commission, led by former LEP Board Member John Gourd, to build up a robust evidence base. Find out more: