From Cabinet agenda – Owl summary: it has taken 5+ years for the participating councils to realise that the business people on the LEP are running rings round them and still the only thing councils can do is “influence” those same business people:
“Risk implications will continue to be addressed at all stages of these proposals.
The Secretary of State is yet to formally clarify his position on the HotSW devolution proposal although the overall policy direction seems to be becoming clearer.
In the circumstances the Leader feel that the partnership needs to move forward with the priority development of the HotSW Productivity Plan and that this can best be achieved through the establishment of a formal Joint Committee in place of the current informal governance arrangements. This will put a formal governance structure around the Productivity Plan preparation, approval and delivery so minimising risk to the County Council and the other partner authorities. It will give partners the ability to negotiate with Government at pace, particularly on the emerging Industrial Strategy but without the statutory commitment required to establish a Combined Authority.
Without a Productivity Plan and Joint Committee in place the Council and its partners will be at a disadvantage in negotiating and lobbying Government on a range or policy initiatives including the growth agenda and are likely to miss out on potential funding streams.
“The HotSW Joint Committee will provide a formal strategic partnership to complement and maximise the ability of local sub- regional arrangements to deliver their aspirations. It will allow the partners to collaborate to agree and deliver the Productivity Plan as well as engage effectively with the Government, other deal areas and other LEPs on a range of policy agendas. It will allow the partnership to test and improve its ability to work together as a potential precursor to the establishment of a Combined Authority at some point in the future. It will also provide a mechanism to work alongside and influence the LEP on strategic investment decisions affecting the HotSW area and to secure improvements to LEP governance and accountability.”
(topic begins on page 107)