Cumbria LEP to make changes to governance and structure

22 March 2018

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the county’s strategic economic body, is to implement a series of changes to strengthen its governance and transparency, and to increase private sector representation on its board.

 

The changes are the result of recommendations from an independent review conducted by consultants, S4W, and overseen by the LEP Scrutiny Committee, to review the organisation and governance.

 

The changes are also aligned with the Government’s recent publication of a best practice guide for LEP governance and transparency.  The LEP board wish to further consider an additional report from the Scrutiny Committee when a new chair is appointed and following receipt of wider Government reviews of LEPs which are currently underway.

 

The agreed changes are summarised below:

 

Refresh of the Cumbria Strategic Economic Plan

 

The refresh of the Strategic Economic Plan is already underway, with the LEP charged with the task to create a Local Industrial Strategy for Cumbria through to 2030.  The strategy will be developed locally in consultation with economic development partners and agreed centrally by government.

 

The refreshed plan will focus on wide engagement with all partners with the objective of identifying clear strategic priorities that can help to drive economic growth and maximise partner buy-in.  The aim is to more accurately identify priorities to improve skills, increase innovation and enhance infrastructure and business growth.

 

Cumbria LEP board structure

 

The LEP will shortly start the process of recruiting four new private sector board members. This will give the private sector a stronger voice and make it easier for private sector board members to lead on work in particular sectors.

 

An additional public sector place on the board is being created for a public sector nuclear body and Sellafield Ltd will be invited to put forward a nomination for an initial period of three years.

 

The structure of the board will therefore increase to 10 private sector and 7 public sector members.

 

Stronger executive capacity

 

Stronger executive capacity will include the establishment of a core team of staff to cover key responsibilities and to provide greater support to the board and its advisory groups.  This measure is designed to bring more focus to the delivery of LEP strategic goals, create more clarity on budget and develop a more robust project pipeline with improved consultation and engagement.

 

Enhanced transparency of decision making

 

To achieve greater transparency of decision making, Cumbria LEP will ensure that its board and Investment Panel meeting agendas and papers are published on its website five days before a meeting takes place.  It will also publish minutes of these meetings within 10 working days.

 

The Government has developed new guidance for the annual review process for the LEPs as a whole, with greater focus on governance and transparency arrangements.

 

This will include revised guidance for LEP assurance frameworks (the rules governing how LEPs operate) in the new financial year.  Cumbria LEP will also ensure that its assurance framework is widely distributed amongst its partners and will hold briefings to ensure it is fully understood.

 

Potential conflicts of interests and best practice

 

The LEP board has introduced a series of revised policies based on the Government’s best practice guidance, including a new complaints policy, a whistleblowing policy, a new code of conduct and a new register of interests for board members.

 

George Beveridge, chair of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, says: “The board has discussed in detail the S4W report and the Government’s best practice guidance. Many of these recommendations are similar and have strong support from the LEP board.

 

“The board recognises the need for greater openness and transparency. We want people to have a better understanding of how and why we make decisions.

 

“We will publish the agendas and minutes of board and investment panel meetings more quickly, and in line with Government best practice guidance. These meetings are particularly important, as they involve decisions about public money.

 

“We have now also published information showing the progress of our major projects, and details of the way in which projects can apply for funding, along with the criteria used to determine which projects receive funding.

 

“We will also be increasing private sector representation on the board, and have already started work on refreshing the Strategic Economic Plan and devising the new Local Industrial Strategy.”

 

Cumbria LEP is also moving forward with its recruitment process that will see the appointment of a new Chair of the LEP board, as well as a new CEO.

 

The full S4W report is available here, and the LEP board’s response to it can be accessed here. The government’s best practice guidance for LEPs on governance can be found here.

 

Ends

 

For media information please contact Karen Gardner at Osprey Communications on 015394-42436.

 

Notes for editors

 

  • Cumbria LEP provides a strategic lead for all activities contributing to the growth and vibrancy of the county’s economy and where appropriate takes positive action, using the skills, capability and networks of LEP partners.

 

  • The LEP is keen to work with all partners and stakeholders (private and public) to undertake actions, secure funding and implement initiatives to support sustainability and growth of Cumbria’s economy.

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