The Government has reaffirmed the role of LEPs as the voice of business in England, supercharging economic growth and forging partnerships to drive up local investment.

The review, Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships, builds on the Government’s commitment to work with LEPs set out in the publication of its Industrial Strategy.

This includes Government setting out a clear statement on the role and responsibilities of LEPs to increase productivity and deliver robust, evidence-based Local Industrial Strategies for each region based on local consultation.

The review also sets out how government and Local Enterprise Partnerships will work together to strengthen leadership and capability, improve accountability and manage risk, and provide clarity on geography.

It commits up to £20m additional funding up to 2020 to help LEPs implement the review and embed evidence in Local Industrial Strategies. 

A number of reforms have been proposed to boost the performance and transparency of LEPs, including mandates for women to make up at least one third of LEP Boards by 2020 and for LEPs to submit proposals for revised geographies where there is currently some overlap.

Dialogue between Government and LEP leaders will also be increased to bring the voice of business to policy making. This includes the Prime Minister chaired biannual Council of LEP Leaders announced in the Industrial Strategy and each LEP has been assigned an official Government sponsor.

Hertfordshire LEP Chair Mark Bretton says: “Hertfordshire LEP has gone from strength to strength over the past six years and this latest review further anchors our position as a catalyst for business-led growth.

“We welcome Government’s bid to improve the transparency and accountability of LEPs and are delighted that here in Hertfordshire we are already meeting the majority of the proposed recommendations.

“I will be working closely with fellow LEP Chairs in the coming months as part of a steering group that looks to coordinate our approach in a way that best empowers our economic areas.

 “We have been proactive in developing a business-led Local Industrial Strategy for the county that capitalises on our significant sector strengths and knowledge capabilities, and welcomes additional support from Government to help deliver our ambitions.”

The Communities Secretary, Rt. Hon James Brokenshire MP says: “This publication of 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.”

Local Growth Minister, Jake Berry MP says: “We’ve committed over £9 billion to help LEPs through 3 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.

“This landmark shake-up of our local enterprise partnerships will help us deliver on our pledge to deliver over £12 billion through the Local Growth Fund by 2021 while allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to deliver inclusive growth.”

Publication of the review on 24 July followed on from the successful Prime Minister’s first Council of LEP Chairs held on 19th June, as part of their ongoing role in developing Local Industrial Strategies, and preparing for implementation of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). 

Each LEP has also been assigned a senior official Government sponsor. Hertfordshire LEP’s new sponsor is Ian Porée, who works for the Ministry of Justice and lives in Hertfordshire. The purpose of this new role is to support and challenge each LEP to be as effective and ambitious as possible and to help gather evidence on the particular challenges and opportunities facing each economic area. As part of his induction, Mr Porée was taken on a tour of Stevenage to see at first hand some of the challenges and opportunities facing the town. Read about his visit. 

The Industrial Strategy stated that Government would work to strengthen Local Enterprise Partnerships to ensure that all parts of England stand ready to play their part in the growth of our economy after our exit from the European Union. The Government confirmed a review of Local Enterprise Partnerships to deliver this objective, so that they are securely placed to drive growth through the development of the Local Industrial Strategies in partnership with areas, harnessing distinctive strengths to meet the Government’s Grand Challenges and in the context of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The publication of Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships marks the conclusion of the Ministerial review of Local Enterprise Partnerships and sets out Government’s expectations of their roles and responsibilities.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will now work with LEPs to develop detailed plans by 31 October on how they will implement the Review.

Useful Links

  1. Read the Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships review in full; 
  2. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Gov.UK press release
  3. The LEP Network press release on the review. 

Find out more about how Hertfordshire LEP is developing a Local Industrial Strategy.

Further notes

This year the Hertfordshire Forward conference theme is Growth and the Local Industrial Strategy. This annual conference is the only pan-Hertfordshire forum where all key statutory, voluntary and commercial interests in our county can get together and consider the issues of the day.

Hertfordshire is entering a challenging era with an extra 100,000 homes and 100,000 jobs planned for the county over the next fifteen years. Whilst presenting significant challenges, this growth also presents a real opportunity to shape the future of Hertfordshire – not least through the Local Industrial Strategy for the county. The conference on 19 September brings senior elected members, board members, chief executives, senior officers and policy makers to shape thinking on these key topics. Find out more about Hertfordshire Forward.