The Financial Times has rank Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s regeneration body, Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP as the 3rd best in the country in a report called How are the UK’s LEPs faring? that was published on Friday.
The Financial Times fDi Magazine tasked a team of investment analysts and experts to assess the performance of the UK’s local enterprise partnerships since they replaced the regional development agencies. The results were mixed, with a general feeling that the LEPs still have a lot to learn.
The FDI promotion structure of the UK underwent large changes when the Coalition government, elected in 2010, abolished the regional development agencies previously tasked with economic development and investment attraction, and decentralised the functions to smaller local enterprise partnerships (LEPs).
fDi Magazine set about analysing how effective the 39 newly created LEPs might be in attracting FDI through a benchmarking exercise which ultimately found the West of England organisation as the most promising.
The good and the bad
Benchmarking the LEPs is complicated. fDi’s researchers looked at the geographies they cover in an effort to assess the attractiveness of the locations themselves, and then separately judged the strategies and plans the LEPs presented. The result is a top 20 ranking for the LEPs and also a top 20 for the locations they represent.
Adding to the difficulty is the fact that many of the boundaries drawn for LEP territories are artificial and overlap as economic regions. Not all LEPs are created equal; London, for example, was allowed to keep its broader development agency – now called London & Partners – to the annoyance of much of the rest of England’s investment promotion bodies.
There are weak locations that have potentially good LEPs as well as attractive locations with weak LEPs. This is the reason that fDi decided to look at the two in isolation. London has the strongest location offer, but its LEP is not particularly active in FDI promotion, as unlike most of its counterparts the London Enterprise Panel can rely on help from London & Partners. Conversely, Cornwall scores outside the top 20 for its location attributes, but its LEP put an impressive entry in for consideration and scored a top 10 ranking from the judges.
To read more: