Monday, June 29, 2015

News: New structure for Sheffield City Region

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The Sheffield City Region (SCR) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Sheffield City Region Combined Authority (SCRA) has formalised its structure with five new executive boards but discussions over the possibility of an elected mayor have not been disclosed.

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are the Government's model to promote economic development. With input from the private sector, they provide the strategic leadership required to set out local economic priorities, and better reflect the natural economic geography of the areas they serve.

In 2013, the nine local authorities that comprise the SCR agreed to create a new legal body, the Combined Authority, that would have responsibility for transport, economic development and regeneration. The LEP and the SCR Combined Authority have assumed a joint role in developing and delivering the economic strategy for the SCR and a joint SCR Executive Team has been created.

Refinement of the governance structure has led to the creation of executive boards that will cover: skills, business growth, infrastructure, transport and housing. They are tasked with making key decisions on strategy and budget allocation. The boards are made up of key players in the public and private sector and have delegated authority from the combined authority and LEP.

Strengthening the decision making role, the boards are also expected to have the ability to raise the profile of their vested area of interest and the chair and board members will be able to take on ambassadorial and act as spokespersons for their thematic areas of responsibility on behalf of the authority. The chief executive (when appointed) of Rotherham Council has been prescribed a place on the transport executive board.

Sir Stephen Houghton, chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority and leader of Barnsley Council, said: "The new governance arrangements are vital to efficiently progress the devolution agenda and successfully deliver our promises to Government that form the Growth Deal.

"Political leaders have worked together across local boundaries for several years as it is mutually beneficial, this was formalised with the SCRA in 2014.

"The new arrangements mean we will take collaboration between Local Authorities, and public and private sector to a higher level.

"We have worked closely with our private sector colleagues in the LEP and value their contribution to economic success, and their leadership on key strategic programmes."

James Newman, chairman of the LEP, added: "Since the formation of the LEP in 2010, I have been astounded at the enthusiasm and time the private sector has given for the greater good and economic growth of SCR.

"Their leadership and intellectual contribution to economic strategy means political leaders are willing to share the decision making burden.

"This is a dynamic time for Sheffield City Region, we have achieved much in a short timescale, and we should be proud of what these new arrangements will mean."

In May, the combined authority held "informal discussions" regarding the possibility of an elected "Metro Mayor." It followed comments from the Chancellor, George Osborne, who expressed that he wasn't imposing a mayor on anyone but added that if the regions wanted to be part of the "new revolution in city government" they would need to have one.

Sheffield City Region LEP website

Images: Sheffield City Region LEP

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