A proposal to create a more effective model where businesses and the public sector work in partnership for the good of the region has been announced by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) today.
Plans for a new ‘Business Board’ have been revealed by Mayor James Palmer which include a fundamental re-structure of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP (GCGP LEP).
The Business Board will be the main feature of a powerful new partnership between the private and public sectors. The Board will provide a forum for business leaders to give direction on the issues that are important to the fast-paced growth of the local economy.
Mayor James Palmer said: "Clearly the National Audit Office (NAO) report published earlier this month has been a cause of concern for many. The decision by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to freeze LEP funding was unprecedented and my concern has always been that Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough might miss out on much needed investment as a result.
"From the start, my desire for a closer working relationship and collaboration between the Combined Authority and the LEP has been motivated by the need for this much needed investment into the area to be safeguarded and for decision making regarding future growth and infrastructure investment to be more streamlined and coherent.
"I'm confident that a new Business Board that will involve the public and private sectors working together closely will provide a powerful business voice for Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and will enable the concerns raised in the NAO report to be fully addressed."
Martin Whiteley, Chief Executive of the Combined Authority and interim Chief Executive of the GCGP LEP added:
“The most effective economies both in the UK and around the world are built upon a strong working relationship between the public sector and businesses. These new arrangements have the potential to set the standard for Local Enterprise Partnerships across the UK.
“It is important that we put in place the arrangements necessary to deliver the Government’s national and our regional Industrial Strategy. The creation of a new Business Board will strengthen the voice of business and will help create a more effective public and private partnership, which will subsequently attract more funding to the region and ensure the money that we have is targeted better.
“These new arrangements will also allow us to work closely with the key sectors which will deliver economic growth; and they will mean the Business Board can be a transparent organisation, with reduced bureaucracy and delivering a more coherent and joined up response to businesses.”
The LEP Board have agreed to put in place a plan to enable the voluntary ‘winding up’ of the company set up to manage the GCGP LEP with effect from 31st March 2018. Following today’s decision, interim work by the CPCA will commence to agree proposals with Government for the new Business Board. A key element to driving forward the new board will be the appointment of a Shadow Board with an interim Chair who has private and public-sector experience. The Combined Authority will then become the Accountable Body for all business growth funding streams from 1 April 2018.
These proposals have now been submitted to Government.