The New Local Enterprise Partnerships: An Initial Assessment - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents

Written evidence from Basingstoke and Deane Council


  1.1  The borough of Basingstoke and Deane has a strong well-balanced and diverse economy performing well in knowledge based sectors such as IT, telecommunications, financial services, a growing R&D sector in bioscience and healthcare and advanced manufacturing around defence. However in order to perform well coming out of recession the area will need to address a number of issues including infrastructure such as transport and broadband and to ensure its workforce is suitably skilled. Driving economic prosperity for the area is our first corporate priority.

  1.2  Basingstoke and Deane is home to many major companies including AA, Motorola, MEPC, Sony, Huwawei, Shire, Sandoz, Barclays Corporate, AXA-Winterthur, Game, Thales, Eli Lilley, De La Rue, Vitacress and Scott Wilson. Many of whom are active in our Borough Business Partnership.

  1.3  Realising that business crosses administrative boundaries, in 2008 we joined forces with neighbouring districts, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Economic Partnership, SEEDA and others to form the North Hampshire and M3 Corridor Economic Board. The board focuses on the key economic issues affecting business in the area, specifically skills development, infrastructure improvement and inward investment.


  2.1  The North Hampshire and M3 Corridor Economic Board will be submitting proposals for a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the functions that are relevant in this area are:

    — Supporting innovation and enterprise growth.

    — Identifying barriers to growth such as transport, infrastructure and skills and developing actions with appropriate organisations.

    — Promoting the area and attracting investment.

  However it is important that a LEP deals with local economic issues and therefore the functions of a LEP should allow for flexibility to respond. This is illustrated well by comparing the north and south of Hampshire, where the economic issues and profile in the Economic Assessment are very different.

  2.2  In terms of ensuring value for money, it makes sense to utilise existing economic structures such as economic boards and partnerships set-up around Multi-Area Agreements. Keeping bureaucracy to a minimum would also help to maintain value for money. In managing our Economic Board in north Hampshire we have kept our running costs to a minimum by sharing out tasks between constituent members. Some provide support to the main board others to the three project groups reporting in to the board.

  2.3  Co-ordination between LEPs will be important for a number of issues such as transport and in the South East there is an existing network, the South East Diamonds for Investment and Growth (SEDfIG). The eight functional economic areas making up the "Diamonds" are

    — Brighton and Hove.

    — Gatwick.

    — Milton Keynes and Aylesbury Vale.

    — North Hampshire.

    — Oxford and central Oxfordshire.

    — Reading.

    — Thames Gateway Kent.

    — Urban South Hampshire.

  They account for a disproportionate amount of GVA within the region and will provide the majority of economic and housing growth within the south-east in the next few years.

  The SEDfIG have a track record of working together across the South East but also more locally. The "west of London arc" of Oxford, Reading and North Hampshire has developed a good working relationship through the SEDfIG and specifically on projects for example to understand and develop their knowledge economy sectors.

  The necessary partnership structures and governance are in place and it would be efficient to utilise this structure in co-ordinating and supporting LEPs in the South East.

  2.4  The structure of the North Hampshire and M3 Corridor Economic Board is straight-forward and strategic, comprising a main board and project groups. Membership of the main board includes Leaders and Chief Executives of the district councils and Cabinet Member and Director of Hampshire County Council. A similar structure for LEPs would allow for local accountability through local authority leaders and allows for flexibility in delivering economic projects.

  Business involvement is also essential in the structure and we would again develop this by building on our existing networks such as our well-established Borough Business Partnership and our Basingstoke Ambassadors scheme. Working in partnership with business has helped to deliver broadband improvements in the area.

  2.5  In order to ensure clarity, stability and aid planning a timetable for transfer from RDAs to LEPs needs to be established. It would also be helpful to have more details about the process for assessing LEP submissions after 6 September.

  2.6  Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has good experience of successful E U projects to support the local economy and is currently a partner in six projects including Entredi which is about business enterprise and innovation, URBACT which focuses on recovery from the recession, EcoAdvantage looking a sustainable business and FLOW supporting older workers to carry on being economically active. We also have experience of assessing EU funding proposals.

  2.7  Basingstoke and Deane also established a venture capital fund, 3en to support high growth technology business and recently set-up a lifeline fund within 3en offering loans to viable businesses experiencing cash-flow difficulties. 3en has led to job creation and entrepreneurial growth locally.


    — Functions of LEPs should be flexible enough to respond to local economic issues.

    — Value for money can be obtained by keeping LEPs strategic with a simple structure and governance arrangements, where possible making use of existing economic boards.

    — Co-ordination between LEPs in the same region would be valuable and in the South East there is a ready made structure in SEDfIG to carry out this function.

    — Accountability can be achieved through the involvement of local authority leaders.

    — A timetable outlining details of transition from RDAs to LEPs would be helpful.

13 August 2010

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