In early 2018 we convened a series of discussions with local authority leaders and senior staff in local economic partnerships (LEPs) across southeast England to understand what a local industrial strategy needs to look like in practice and what is needed in the relationships between local authorities and LEPs.
We spoke to some of the most experienced individuals in the field of sub-regional economic policy and triangulated this with our own desk research into how the UK Industrial Strategy is being translated at local level. We also produced case studies of three different types of local geography; Bracknell Forest, a small unitary council and key player in the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP; Surrey, one of the country’s most populous counties which includes both the Enterprise M3 and Coast to Capital LEP areas; and Tonbridge and Milling, a small borough council in the heart of rural Kent which manages relationships with both SELEP and the Kent and Medway LEP.
Our work identified the areas where local councillors are likely to contribute most to local industrial strateges. These include:
- Setting the overall direction and priorities of the LIS
- Supporting the role and operation of LEPs
- Building links with other partners
- Ensuring the evidence base is robust
- Providing insight about local economic challenges and potential
- Shaping sector priorities and deals
- Informing strategies around skills
- Helping to prioritise infrastructure needs