09 Feb Local enterprise partnership set for smooth transfer
Businesses can expect a seamless transition when the functions of the local enterprise partnership transfer to West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) this spring.
The move follows the Government’s decision last year to end core funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships from 31 March 2024, to allow for continuing services to be run through local authorities.
From the start of April 2024, WNC will take the role of host for the continuing functions from the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP). This includes:
- Strategic regional economic planning
- The Growth Hub, a government-backed business support service which provides free 1-2-1 advice, guidance and resources to assist businesses located in the South East Midlands to realise growth ambitions and overcome constraints.
- The Careers Hub, which connects local employers to individual schools, colleges and training providers to coordinate careers education to the needs of the region’s economy and enhance each student’s early experiences of the workplace.
This approach was agreed collectively by the six local authorities in the South East Midlands – Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes, North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire.
The Central Area Growth Board, made up of the leaders of each authority, will provide the initial governance structure, prior to the establishment of a joint committee. The board will be supported by a newly formed Business Board with representatives from the business community across the area.
The Business board will play a critical role in ensuring businesses across the South East Midlands have a hand in shaping the economy, and a voice on issued that affect them.
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Co-chair of the Growth Board, said: “We’re committed to ensuring the businesses and individuals who have been so brilliantly supported by SEMLEP will experience a smooth transition.
“In the coming months and years, we’ll also dedicate our efforts across the South East Midlands to building on the great work that’s been done by everyone so far.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming some fantastic new colleagues, albeit that we’ve already been working closely with them for some years.”
Final preparations are now being made to transfer staff and functions to WNC as the host authority, along with the agreed budget for their management.
These arrangements will be discussed at a meeting of WNC’s Cabinet on Tuesday 13 February 2024.