The Cumbria LEP (CLEP) takes scrutiny very seriously and during 2018 fully reviewed its scrutiny arrangements to ensure that all of its activities and investments were open, transparent and subject to scrutiny.
In discharging scrutiny, CLEP has discharged its commitment to three separate audiences – government, local government and wider stakeholders including the public. Its approach to each of these audiences is outlined below.
CLEP has revised all of its governance and accountability arrangements to be compliant with the updated National Assurance Framework, Mary Ney Review, government’s guidance following the Mary Ney Review and the issues addressed in the deep-dive review of CLEP. It has also made significant progress in anticipating the content of the National Local Growth Assurance Framework (January 2019) in its September 2018 update of the Local Assurance Framework. A work programme has been established to ensure that a new Local Assurance Framework is produced by 29 March 2019, which is fully compliant with the January 2019 guidance.
CLEP has actively engaged with government to ensure that all expectations of LEPs in terms of governance, strategy and delivery are met to a high standard and provided the necessary evidence for this as part of its Annual Performance Review 2018.
CLEP operated to a Local Scrutiny Committee consisting of three Local Authority members (District Council members, who represent alternate Local Authorities to those sitting on the Board), and three private sector members. The revised governance structure, agreed in September 2018, resulted in the move to revised scrutiny arrangements through the formation of a combined Economic and Productivity Scrutiny Committee, consisting of the County Council and all six District Councils, with the option to co-opt private sector members in line with Key Lines of Enquiry. CLEP is very clear that this new Combined Scrutiny Committee is Local Authority-led and as such has agreed that the formation of the Committee should be taken forward by Local Authorities, which are currently going through their nomination process. In the interim to ensure that CLEP remains under Local Government scrutiny interim arrangements have been put in place with the County Council’s Scrutiny Management Board fulfilling this function. All District Councils will be invited to nominate a representative to join this Committee when it undertakes a full review of CLEP’s activities on 12 March 2019.
In advance of the existing Scrutiny Committee being formally stood down, under the new arrangements, a valedictory meeting took place with private sector members of the Committee in November 2018 to review CLEP’s implementation of their Scrutiny Report, and to confirm that all issues that had been identified, had been considered by the Chair and Chief Executive and a response had been provided to these.
In addition CLEP has confirmed its willingness to attend individual Local Authority Scrutiny Committees to have its activities scrutinised. During 2018 it attended:
Allerdale Borough Council
Focus – skills landscape in Cumbria and impact
Outcome – invited CLEP to provide further input on skills work and overview of skills funding
Focus – LEP Skills Work and overview of skills funding
Outcome – developed elected members understanding of Mainstream and ESF funding for skills and how this is distributed across Allerdale.
Cumbria County Council
Strategic Child Poverty Group
Focus – delivery of skills to young people in poverty
Outcome – understanding of impact of skills delivery to disadvantaged areas and groups across the county and the challenges faced by the skills sector in doing this
Focus – Careers Hub Model and proposed impact
Outcome – support for Careers Hub concept and development of a coherent approach to Careers Education
Focus – Careers Strategy and overview of Apprenticeships
Outcomes – developed understanding of Careers Education challenges, Apprenticeship policy changes and impact on Cumbrian employers/young people
Review of Apprenticeships
Focus – a joint piece of work with CCC’s Senior Manager for Learning and Skills on Apprenticeships across the County and the County Council’s Apprenticeship programme
Outcome – Developed an understanding of the contribution of Apprenticeships to the countywide skills agenda and the policy changes that have produced current levels of performance. An understanding of the County Council’s performance against key Apprenticeship metrics.
Carlisle City Council
CLEP is also scheduled to attend Carlisle City Council’s Economic Growth Scrutiny Panel on 28 February 2019, prior to the interim combined scrutiny arrangements becoming operational on 12 March 2019.
The revised governance arrangements were designed to engage a significant number of businesses and public and voluntary and community sector organisations in developing and implementing CLEP’s strategies and work programmes, and in the process scrutinise these, thereby providing a comprehensive review.
Additionally, CLEP hosted a public open Annual General Meeting on 28 September 2018 to account for its activities and to outline its priorities for 2019. This provided all stakeholders with the opportunity to attend and question CLEP on its business. An Annual Report 2018 document was produced and circulated to accompany the Annual General Meeting.
CLEP’s 2019 Annual General Meeting is scheduled for 27 September.
Further details on CLEP’s commitment to, and engage with scrutiny arrangements are available from Jo Lappin, Chief Executive [email protected]