Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are locally-owned partnerships between public sector (local authorities) and private sector (businesses). They determine local economic priorities and undertake activities to promote economic growth and create local jobs.
The LEPs come in different sizes and structures, some LEPs have special interest groups, advisory panels and the make-up of the Boards differ in terms of public and private-sector and representatives from higher education and Universities.
The localism agenda was first announced by the coalition in the June 2010 Budget, followed by a Local Growth White paper that was issued in October 2010, which led to the government inviting local authorities and business to form LEPs.
The first LEPs were established in April 2011 and the RDAs were abolished in March 2012. There are 39 LEPs in England, actively championed by the Departments for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) and Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). Lord Heseltine wrote his “No Stones Unturned” report on generating growth which was released in October 2012. The report referred to the devolution of government funds into a single pot. Many of the recommendations were adopted by government in their response in June 2013. In the Chancellor’s Spending Round announcement in June 2013, a Single Local Growth Fund of at least £2bn per annum was created for LEPs to bid into to drive forward local growth.