How many staff members does the LEP CEO supervise?

Reposted comment on the new that the CEO of our Local Enterprise Partnership is in line for a 26% salary increase:

Two of the many things we don’t know about our LEP are: how many staff our £90,729 pa (current pay rate now under review) Chief Executive, Chris Garcia, manages? Or what the staff bill and administrative costs are? Nation Audit Office (NAO) believes median number of full time equivalent staff across the country is eight.

The initial intention was that LEPs should be self-funding from private enterprise. In the event these funds did not materialise for the first LEPs to emerge, but imagine the expectations this funding mechanism could have generated amongst the “donor” community.

In a 2016 report the NAO says: “The Department [Department for Communities and Local Government] provides LEPs with £500,000 in core funding for administrative purposes, subject to LEPs securing £250,000 in match funding from local partners. All LEPs received the same core funding, regardless of size or structure.”

So there is really quite a lot of cash in the kitty to spend on “administrative purposes” (maybe it is even ring fenced for such purposes and if the CE and staff don’t get it, it disappears back to the Treasury?).

One of the reasons the Coalition announced in their 2010 White Paper the eventual abolition of Regional Development Agencies and their replacement by LEPs was because the current system was not seen to be delivering. So it is slightly surprising to see that Chris Garcia is a one-time “Director of Enterprise and Skills at the South West Regional Development Agency”.

Grenadier and the Exmouth Creative Group – is there a connection?

Grenadier have launched new website:

Interesting that the Watersports Centre no longer listed as one of their community projects. It has been moved to a Commercial project.

Was it therefore Grenadier and its hangers-on that was involved with the “Exmouth Creative Group” that Councillor Skinner seems to have forgotten he may have spoken to?

It says of “community projects”:

We assess any impacts we believe we make as a business on the environment and community and pro-actively become involved with projects that do not necessarily provide an immediate financial benefit to the company, but instead promote positive social and environmental change.”

which would fit the brief of the secretive “Exmouth Creative Group” perfectly:

Now, Owl is NOT saying that there is a connection – Owl is not even sure that such a group ever existed, only that, if it did indeed exist, there might be such a connection – indeed it would be surprising if there were not as such a group would surely want to influence all the “movers and shakers” in Exmouth. And the group’s members were said to include ” developers”.

It says of its commercial developments:

Our work includes building new commercial developments from the ground up, converting existing buildings or sites and their use, and investing in new property that has the scope for additional development or income.

Big difference isn’t it.

Owl will be happy to publish a response from Grenadier and/or EDDC and/or Councillor Skinner on this topic:

Who suggested a 26% payrise for our LEP’s CEO and who pays for it?

We know it wasn’t Devon County Council- they are quoted as saying they will object. It doesn’t seem it is Somerset County Council as DCC mentions that it believes they will also object.

So, we have a very strange situation where the CEO’s of the two counties involved seem to have no power over the people who are supposed to work on behalf of the two counties.

If enough other board members (including our own Paul Diviani) agree, presumably the increase will go ahead.

Remember, this money will not come out of their own budgets but from us, the taxpayers – and we have NEVER been asked if we agree to this.