Local Enterprise Partnerships…
The new structures intended to help local Councils and local businesses to ‘take charge of the economy’. High profile private sector led boards ‘with added councillors’ to provide democratic accountability and no doubt ‘a community perspective’.
LEPS have been charged by the Government to take responsibility for strategy, funding, investment, planning and commissioning of economic development and regeneration activities.
Early signs are that although they are called ‘enterprise’ partnerships the focus of LEPs seems to be overwhelmingly on economic growth.
The Alternative LEP came about from conversations where we explored how it could be different. What if LEPs:
- worked to ensure that the economy existed to serve people (all of us) instead of us existing to serve it?
- refused to look at the economy in isolation but as one part of a system that also includes people and the environment?
- took seriously the challenges of continued economic growth and its impact on the environment?
- explored and developed enterprise as a quality of communities, localities and people instead of focussing on old school economic measures such as GDP?
- focused on investment in local people and communities rather than attracting investors from elsewhere – a preference for economic gardening over economic hunting
- recognised the historical failure of such organisations to successfully plan the economy and provide the infrastructure required – and instead of trying to ‘take charge of the local economy’, ‘facilitated local enterprise’?
- understood that we can’t ‘develop’ economies or communities. But we can help people to develop -and people are great at building both community and the economy – given the chance
The Alternative LEP will provide a place to explore what kind of ‘economic development and regeneration activities’ Local Enterprise Partnerships might commission if they started from these assumptions.
Membership of the Altenrative Local Economic Partnership is free to anyone.
So join in and share your ideas.
Use the contact page to send me your ideas for the kind of things that an Alternative LEP might commission, and we will get the ball rolling…