In the news: working with LEPs on growth fund bids

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 14 Jul 2014

Chris Green

Final details of a £2 billion funding package for local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to go on 150 new housing schemes, transport projects and job creation were confirmed last week by ministers.

Each of England’s 39 LEPs has been allocated a Local Growth Deal following recommendations of Michael Heseltine's No Stone Unturned report.

This championed a rebalancing of economic development responsibility in favour of local areas over central government.

Consultancy SQW worked with several of the LEPs on their bids. Chris Green is chief executive.

Q What has been your personal involvement in this?

I worked with small core teams within the LEPs to prepare strategies. I did most of the strategy writing in collaboration with the teams and boards and did lots of consultation with other groups such as local authorities, universities and voluntary groups.

Q What have been the most important bits of work that you have had to do on this?

Pulling together strategies that win buy-in from both the business community and local public sector is crucial and pretty time consuming. It doesn't help that government guidance isn't always consistent and develops over time, which meant we had to keep adapting what we were doing.

Q What have been the biggest challenges that this has presented to you, and how did you deal with them? 

The funding available was capital money but a lot of the initiatives the LEPs wanted to undertake needed revenue expenditure. So we had to focus on those projects that involved capital funds even if we weren't convinced in all cases they were appropriate for the LEP to take forward.