Login | Register

Government moves to reform LEP diversity

Words: Huw Morris

The government is proposing to shake up Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) by reforming their leadership, governance and accountability to improve diversity.

As part of its reforms pledge in the Industrial Strategy white paper, LEPs will receive an additional £20 million in funding between 2018 and 2020.

Following a government review, England’s 38 LEPS will be required to consult widely and transparently on appointing new chairs and improve board diversity. This will include a requirement for women to make up at least a third of LEP boards by 2020 with the expectation of equal representation by 2023.

The reforms also include a mandate for LEPs to submit proposals for revised geographies including removing situations in which two LEPs overlap.

The government has so far committed more than £9 billion to LEPs through three rounds of Growth Deals to deliver on their investment priorities.

By 2021, it will have invested more than £12 billion through the Local Growth Fund, citing its analysis that every £1 it spends generates £4.81 in benefits.

LEP review panel member Christine Gaskell, who also chairs the Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “The next step for LEPs is to work in tandem with government to deliver on all of the review’s recommendations in the coming months, many of which are already under way.

“But, as LEPs strengthen their capacity and capability in line with the recommendations of the review, it’s vital that they are underpinned by a matching commitment from the government to equip us with the funding and the means to deliver truly local strategies that will grow the productivity of the people, firms and industries in our areas.”

Policy paper Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships is available here.

Image credit | Gov.UK