LEP and value for money

Further to the two posts below, the National Audit Office report on combined authorities can be found here:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Progress-in-setting-up-combined-authorities.pdf

and its summary is here:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Progress-in-setting-up-combined-authorities-Summary.pdf

Perhaps the most significant paragraph for us is this one:

“5. However, evidence that investment, decision-making and oversight at this level is linked to improved local economic outcomes is mixed and inconclusive. Combined authorities themselves often assume in their plans that there is a strong link between investment in transport and economic growth, for example. Despite this, evidence on the additional value that governance at this level can bring to economic growth is mixed, and combined authorities’ administrative boundaries do not necessarily match functional economic areas, or the existing boundaries of local enterprise partnerships. We assessed combined authorities’ draft monitoring and evaluation plans, and found that while they are working to link spending with outcomes and impact, they vary in quality, and measures tend to vary depending on data already available.”

Elsewhere, they also note:
“Also not much coincidence in boundaries between combined authorities and LEPs. EG Bristol combined authority and “West of England LEP”.

They might well have added the lack of symmetry between Somerset ( where most LEP money is going to Hinkley C) and Devon. Of the 48 “projects” listed on their website:

21 projects are transport-related
8 are related to Hinkley C
Only 3 projects might benefit the Exeter area specifically (the “Growth Hub” and its extension, Science Park completed in 2016, Met Office campus which as yet has no funding)