LEP conflicts of interest – Heart of the South West LEP’s striking similarity to censured Greater Cambridge/Greater Peterborough LEP

This is our LEP board:
https://heartofswlep.co.uk/about-the-lep/lep-board/

Many of them have interests in the nuclear industry, housing and commercial development, procurement and recruitment allied to many of our LEP’s investment choices.

The Chairman of our LEP is Steve Hindley, Chairman Midas Group Limited.

Just one headline from many
“Midas to deliver new National College for Nuclear in Somerset”
https://www.midasgroup.co.uk/news/?id=770

This is what the Public Accounts Committee had to say about conflicts of interest at Peterborough LEP:

“… the Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, told us that she had been concerned because the conflicts of interest policy “needed to be more detailed.”

In her written evidence, she stated that the conflicts of interest policy “did not include other interests such as land, property and investment interests of board members.” …

… We asked the former GCGP LEP Chair repeatedly about his own potential conflict of interest, concerning his construction company having the contract to build on a site, while the LEP was advising on what infrastructure should be on that site. Mr Reeve refused to discuss the matter. …

… We pressed Mr Reeve specifically on when his construction company had signed the contract and when he became aware of the potential conflict of interest. We found it hard to understand how there could not be a conflict of interest if his construction company was building a site on which the LEP, of which he was Chair at the time, was putting in funds to the infrastructure, which was presumably increasing the value of the site. Mr Reeve would not provide us with any dates. We pointed out that Mr Reeve’s attitude to openness was not in keeping with the Nolan principles for holders of public office and that people in the local area are entitled to know the answer to when his company signed the contract. Mr Reeve commented “It is a private matter, it is not relevant and there was no conflict of interest.” We do not agree that it is a private matter.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmpubacc/896/89602.htm

And here is a National Audit Office report which came to similar conclusions:

https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Investigation-into-the-governance-of-Greater-Cambridge-Greater-Peterborough-Local-Enterprise-Partnership.pdf