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Wanted – business leaders to shape economic future of the Liverpool City Region

  • New Business and Enterprise Board to bring business voice closer to the Liverpool City Region’s economic policy-making
  • Functions of Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will be integrated into Combined Authority
  • Brings business voice directly into policy making process
  • Enables authority and businesses in key sectors and clusters to work more closely together

Plans have been approved to integrate the work of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which provides a voice for the city region’s business community, into the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

The proposals were approved by the Combined Authority on Friday 28 April, and will mean that the LEP’s functions will be integrated into the Combined Authority.

A new Business and Enterprise Board within the Combined Authority will now take over the role of providing a voice for business in the Liverpool City Region. The Combined Authority is now seeking recognised business leaders in their sector from across the area to volunteer their expertise and time as members of the board.

Bringing the business voice directly into the Combined Authority’s policy-making processes will enable it to work more closely and directly with businesses, especially those in industry clusters that will be of critical importance to the future success of the city region economy.

Following a national review of the work of Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Combined Authority was required by government to integrate the functions of the LEP into its own governance structure.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“Thriving local businesses are the backbone of our economy and, for our area to flourish, we need them to succeed. For more than a decade now, Asif Hamid, Mark Basnett and the LEP have built a platform for business leaders and entrepreneurs across our area to join-up their thinking, collaborate and fulfil their potential – but now it’s time to look to the future.

“This is an opportunity for business and enterprise leaders to work with us, to make their voice heard, and to help us identify the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for our economy. I want the Liverpool City Region to be the home of ‘good’ business and I’m looking forward to seeing where this next chapter takes us on our journey to making our area the best place in the country to live, work and run a business in.”

Asif Hamid MBE, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said:

“We have been working collaboratively on the integration of the LEP with the Combined Authority since the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper early last year. Central to all these discussions is the value and importance of retaining the independent voice of business to inform economic development policy, strategy and delivery, particularly relating to business growth and investment. The newly developed Business and Enterprise Board will do just that – ensuring business is at the heart of driving the economy forward.

“I am proud of what the LEP has achieved in the city region over the last 13 years and am immensely grateful for the inspiration, insight and endeavour of the many business leaders who have given freely of their time to support the growth of our region during this time.

“Our LEP’s legacy will be the strengthened strategic engagement of city region businesses, in collaboration with local government, in the sustainable and inclusive growth of our economy for the benefit of our communities for many years to come and I warmly welcome that.”

LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local or combined authorities and businesses, first set up by government in 2011.

Since the creation of the Combined Authority, several LEP-related functions, such as setting local economic priorities and leading on economic growth and job creation, have already moved across to the Authority.

Under the new plans, a new Business and Enterprise Board will be set up within the Combined Authority as one of the main means of engaging with the local business community.

This board will ensure representation from priority industry sectors in the city region as well as wider business representation. Its purpose will be to articulate business views about the main economic opportunities and challenges facing the region so they can be reflected in policy priorities.

The Business and Enterprise Board will be the primary strategic link between business and the Combined Authority – and its designated representative would become a non-voting member of the Combined Authority. Representation on the board will be ensured for key industry cluster chairs, Higher and Further Education, social economy, and the Liverpool Visitor Economy Partnership. Further representation will be sought from other significant business sectors, such as port and maritime logistics, professional and business services, third sector and built environment.

Three new cluster boards will be set up covering advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences and the digital and creative industries, in recognition of key strengths and growth opportunities for the LCR economy as evidenced in the city region’s Plan for Prosperity. Cluster boards would be able to set up task groups to address issues affecting the performance and competitiveness of the sector and wider LCR economy.

The Business and Enterprise Board and cluster boards will typically be composed of 14 members broadly representing the LCR geography but with the flexibility to co-opt members to plug gaps in areas of expertise, local geography or to ensure greater diversity.

In all cases, the Combined Authority will endeavour to ensure that the new boards reflect communities across the city region, including a commitment to achieve gender balance (50% of seats on boards will be for women) on all boards.

Following approval by the Combined Authority work has begun to seek interested volunteers for appointment to the Business and Enterprise Board, both as chair and board members.

A stakeholder convention will also be established to enable existing business networks, clusters, and the wider business base across LCR to come together periodically to learn about research and intelligence undertaken within LCR and discuss business needs and future business engagement activities.

Find out more about the new Business and Enterprise Board including the application process here.