It appears that the “Heart of the South West LEP is dead in the water now that three of its original members have refused to continue to back it and instead are considering their own grouping – the south-west “Golden Triangle” LEP.
Which brings us to that age-old concern: the money. Where did the HOTSW LEP money come from, where was it spent and now, more importantly, what is happening to it now that several big players – who originally underwrote it – have pulled out?
How do we find out [what little there is] – where is the paper trail and where does its “accountability” reside?
This correspondence with the National Audit Office gives some clues:
[Concerns have been raised] about lack of transparency around contracts and spending.
As part of the assurance framework each local enterprise partnership has a nominated local authority that acts as its accountable body, and Somerset County Council (the Council) is the accountable body for the Heart of the South West LEP.
You could therefore consider bringing the matters to the attention of the Council themselves.
Alternatively you may wish to consider bringing the matters to the attention of the Councils external auditor. For this Council, the appointed auditor is Grant Thornton UK LLP.
The engagement lead for the audit is Peter Barber, who can be contacted at email@example.com or on 0117 305 7897. You should be aware, however, that the NAO has no powers to direct the auditor take further action, as that is a matter of professional judgement to be exercised by the external auditor themselves.
If you are a local elector for the [Somerset?] Council, you also have rights in relation to inspecting and objecting to the Councils accounts, if you feel this appropriate. The NAO has produced Council accounts: A guide to your rights, which sets out these rights in more detail. The guide can be accessed from the link or from our website home page”.”
Council tax payers of Somerset – arise. You, and we, surely have many questions of the council (or better still its external auditors) as to where your (Somerset) and our (Devon and, in particular for us, East Devon) money is going now that the HOTSW LEP has had at least one of its legs cut off.
Have its fingers been cut off? Is the till snapped shut and locked?