“Great South West” LEP for LEPs! The South-West Regional Development Agency rising from its ashes?

We’ve had the Heart of the South West LEP!
We’ve had the “Golden Triangle” LEP (Exeter, Plymouth, Torquay)
We”ve even had the “Golden Quadrangle” LEP (Owl’s suggestion for adding in Cornwall or Dorset)

NOW we have the “Golden Pentangle” (adding in Cornwall AND Dorset)
yet ANOTHER unelected, unaccountable and non-transparent quango:

THE GREAT SOUTH WEST LEP!

first reported by Owl in August 2016 here:
https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/08/26/forget-heart-of-the-south-west-hello-great-south-west/

An update …

It seems plans are well-advanced for the “super” Local Enterprise Partnership of Local Enterprise Partnerships! They now even have a (very poor) website!

Those who remember life BEFORE our own LEP will recall that it was preceded by the much-derided South-West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) – so despised by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition that one of its first actions was to dispose of it and replace it with business-led, business-dominated, business-driven LEPs.

In our case it didn’t exactly work that way as OUR LEP (Heart of the South West – ie Devon and Somerset) decided to employ at a vast salary ex-SWRDA senior manager Chris Garcia – who is so beloved of our LEP that they raised his salary 26% last year!

However, he will perhaps be miffed that the job of CEO of the CEOs of all these LEPs has not gone to him but to Rozz Algar, a former Human Resources Manager:
http://herne.org.uk/pages/about-us/rozz-algar-cmgr-fcmi/101

Want to know what this “super” LEP is planning for us? Go to their NEW (riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes – OWL has spotted SIX spelling mistakes on its home page alone!) website at:

http://greatsouthwest.org.uk/

And hear LEP-speak like you’ve never heard it before! Including that old chestnut about how many hospitals it COULD (but won’t) build!

“AN INTRODUCTION TO GREAT SOUTH WEST?
[Yes there really IS a question mark at the end of that heading!!!]

The South West of England is a great place. It is poised for a step change in prospertiy and productivity. When the productivity in the South West of England matches that currently in the South East we will add over £18bn a year to the UK’s economy. That’s enough to build a new NHS hospital every week.

Our economy is already bigger than that of Manchester and more than two and a half times that of Birmingham – with the single largest infrastructure project in Europe already underway (generating billions of pounds of business opportunities) and the best natural capital in the country (attracting more visitors than anywhere else outside London).
[Just in case you don’t realise it, they are talking about Hinkley C nuclear power plant – that great white elephant in North Somerset]

The pubication of the SW Growth Charter in 2016 started our journey to promote our great region and we welcome the continuing support of stakeholders across the region to hlep in shaping our opportunities and building the momentum.

Our strategy for greater prosperity is to collaborate to promote

a self-sustaining and resillient South West ….
with innovation, enterprise and infrastructure ….
with productive people and rewarding careers …
utilising our natural and entreprenurial capital …
and sharing the benefits for all

We are focused towards having a clear and consistent strategy in time for the Autumn Statement.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN PRACTICE?

Great South West looks to build on existing good practice and collaborative working such as the science and innovation audit

By working together as a region will ensure that the South West has a strong voice to highlight investment opportunities to national and international private and public investors; as well as projecting a positive and progressive image for all

It will help to support the economic growth and prosperity of the whole region by linking up programmes and ensuring that the asks and priorities are consistent and reflect the strengths of the region

The Great Southwest does not intend to impede individuals or groups from their own initiatives or joining with others. We will not be a bureaucracy; but look to support and add value where it can.

It aims to support a flourishing private sector and a highly skilled population able to make the most of the great opportunities that the South West has to offer

Note: The name Great South West is a working title at present and may alter as the intiative gains momentum in order to be appropriate and resonate with all parties. This is not a brand used by the West of England LEP for their local authority areas.”

Yep, all on the back of Brexit!

“Golden Triangle” and “Greater Exeter Strategic Partnership” – anyone had an update?

The “Golden Triangle LEP” comprising of Exeter, Plymouth and Torbay appears to have disappeared into a Bermuda Triangle – see here for some not-so-encouraging old information on it:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2016/12/11/politics-south-west-pigs-ears-economy-with-the-truth-and-foxes/

However, word reaches Owl that someone, somewhere, has dredged it up from the deep again and it might be resurfacing some time later this month. Watch this very empty space.

As for the “Greater Exeter Strategic Plan”, in which East Devon is a partner, now that the initial “consultation” has ended, that seems to have returned to the bowels of the basement of Exeter City Council until “early 2018” (maybe):

https://www.gesp.org.uk/consultations/stage-2-draft-greater-exeter-strategic-plan-pending/

The initial consultation was on “Issues”. There is now an issue on if/when the issues feedback turns up.

“Big Society” a big failure says Parliamentary Committee: £1 billion plus wasted

Owl says: Vanity projects – imagine how much we could spend on necessities if they were all abandoned! Hinkley C, HS2, the Big Society, EDDC relocation, Exmouth “regeneration”, Devon and Somerset devolution …!

“A publicly funded £1bn “big society” project set up by former prime minister David Cameron to restore values of responsibility and discipline among young people has been criticised by MPs for lax spending controls and poor management.

The Commons public accounts committee (PAC) said the National Citizen Service (NCS) trust lacked appropriate governance arrangements, could not justify its high costs, and was unable to prove whether its courses had any long-term impact on youngsters.

Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said: “We urge the trust and central government to review fundamentally the way NCS is delivered and its benefits measured before more public money is committed in the programme’s next commissioning round.”

MPs said that the scheme – which has received £600m in government funding since 2011 and stands to get another £900m investment over the next two years – should be “fundamentally reviewed” by ministers.

Hillier said although there was some evidence the scheme had a short-term positive impact on participants this did not in itself justify the high level of public spending on the programme, nor demonstrate that it would deliver the proposed benefits.

The PAC report criticised the trust for refusing to disclose directors’ salaries, and accused it of a “lack of discipline” after failing to recover £10m paid to providers for unfilled places. It concluded that it was unclear whether the trust management had the necessary skills and experience to run the scheme. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/14/national-citizens-service-justify-costs–commons-committee-cameron

Owl grovels …

Somerset is included in LEP plans for super-expansion! But the questions remain and the situation gets even more complex. Will Cornwall and Dorset be happy with SO MUCH money destined for Hinkley C!

Owl has named the new foursome “The Golden Quadrangle” until such time as it is given its own name!