Government review set to strengthen the work of LEPs across England

As a result of a recent national review by the Government, all Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have been asked to consider their geographical boundaries and governance structures. The aim is to create the best model for them to play an increased role in delivering on the new UK Industrial Strategy.

For us, the most significant change will be to remove geographical overlaps with other LEPs. Currently the Greater Lincolnshire LEP and the Humber LEP overlap, and North and North East Lincolnshire are covered by both LEPs. The Government has made it clear that it wishes to remove overlaps in order to provide clear accountability for investment decisions.

The LEP Board has to submit proposals to Government by the end of September on the geographical issue, and the likely changes to our geography present two options:

  • for the whole of Greater Lincolnshire to work together as one LEP area whilst continuing to work closely with neighbouring LEPs on economic and social issues
  • to increase our geography and size, where we may look to join with a neighbouring LEP to form a single LEP that covers the Humber and Lincolnshire region

We are currently investigating the benefits and implications presented by changes to our geography, and we have been debating options with the business and local government community.

We have been asked to respond to other elements of the LEPs review next month, and we are currently working through our responses.

The Strengthened Local Enterprise Partnerships Review, published by Government ministers in July, aims to strengthen all 38 LEPs by increasing their diversity and ensuring they are operating in a transparent way.

Key reforms on the table include:

  • up to £20 million of additional funding between 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020 to support the implementation of these changes.
  • further support for LEPs to consult widely and transparently on appointing new Chairs and improve board diversity.
  • a requirement for women to make up at least one third of LEP boards by 2020 with the expectation of equal representation by 2023.
  • a mandate for LEPs to submit proposals for revised geographies including removing situations in which two LEP areas overlap.