Response to the Public Accounts Committee’s Local Enterprise Partnerships: progress review

Responding to the Public Accounts Committee’s report, Local Enterprise Partnerships: progress review, a spokesperson for the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said:

“We fully support the overall message of this report that local enterprise partnerships, like any body responsible for public money, must be accountable.

“We have the largest LEP Growth Deal nationally, and this investment is making a real difference to our City Region economy and its people. To date our Growth Deal has created or safeguarded over 27,500 jobs; is helping people get around the region more easily thanks to the 17 major transport schemes we’ve supported so far; enabling young people and apprentices to develop their skills in world-class college facilities thanks to an overall £79 million Growth Deal investment; and has supported 10,000 businesses in the region to grow and create opportunities for local people.

“We take our responsibility for this investment very seriously which is why we have made a commitment to be the most transparent LEP in the country. In line with this commitment, government guidelines and the influential Ney Review of LEPs, we are pleased to note that we are already delivering against the key conclusions of this report.

“We believe that having the Combined Authority as our accountable body is an excellent model for achieving the right balance of meaningful private sector involvement and leadership in economic and transport development, alongside proper accountability and scrutiny.

“All meetings of the LEP and its related panels and sub-committees are held in public. Investment decisions are made according to a rigorous assurance framework, which is fully compliant with Government’s assurance guidelines and requires projects to pass a series of gateway checks and due diligence before funding is released.  All of our investment decisions are ratified by elected politicians at public meetings of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and are subject to scrutiny by the Combined Authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee as well as reporting regularly to our partner councils’ scrutiny meetings. These governance measures have been consistently rated as good by the Government.

“The make-up of our LEP Board reflects the diversity of our geography and business sectors, however we recognise that we need to improve our gender representation – this is something we are tackling head-on through our current Board member recruitment, so that we are fully in line with Government targets by the 2020 deadline.

“We agree that a lack of revenue funding within growth deals has made delivery of complex schemes challenging, particularly in the early days of this large-scale investment programme. However from a standing start we have put in place the structures, governance and capacity to invest a total of £418 million so far in over 200 projects across the City Region.”