LEP Not Spots

I have just read Nigel Hastilows excellent summary on Advantage West Midlands demise and replacement by LEPS (here on ICAEW ION community site)

One thing  that Nigel’s summary shows is that the organisations wanting to create their own LEPs will have their own agendas and they will all have their own physical boundaries.

Being someone who has lived on the edge of the RDA’s since their creation I am now concerned more by the fact that the LEP’s might not reach all the parts they need to and that we will have a new generation of self inflicted “Not Spots” like we do with broadband.

Next steps for business support

The ICAEW have put together some good ideas regarding what to do next after the demise of the RDA’s.

See their press release on the ICAEW website Business support: ideas for the future 

The wait and see approach as to what aspects of support are retained in the centre has a great deal to be said for it. The LEPs could be toothless by the time the Coalition has retained all the juicy bits.

If you want a shiny PDF of the article use the contact page and I will email one.

How much revenue per visit on the expensive Government Information web sites?

Earlier in the month the Cabinet Office released a press release about the cost of some information web sites run by UK Government departments – see the release “Clamp down on Government websites to save millions” on the Cabinet Office Site.

A report published today by the Central Office for Information (COI) found that across government £94 million has been spent on the construction and set up and running costs of just 46 websites and £32 million on staff costs for those sites in 2009-10. The most expensive websites are:

  • uktradeinvest.gov.uk which costs £11.78* per visit; and
  • businesslink.gov.uk which costs £2.15 per visit.

Before we lose some of these sites perhaps we should have more information than just the headline grabbing cost per visit.


I recently commented to a post on the ICAEW ION ITCOUNTS website about the same report:

As with all statistics the headline is in the detail a big cost number divided by a small user number is always a big number, but over what period, equally have the websites been through a major re-write during the period all giving them a high rating,

Obviously some sites have had a lot of money spent on their pretty design (usability as well don’t forget) but we have to ascertain if the end-users of the sites have actually benefited the economy by using the information provided on the site. How would the Cabinet Office collect that information?

After all the information has to be made available, the issue is that they should not be marketing portals for government/party departments they have to be useful information for the citizens and business of the country.

I guess the policy decision was to make the information available on the internet, the civil servants (who are still in post) decided how and how much to spend of their finite resources (our tax pounds) creating the sites.

You need to read “After RDAs: Look before you LEP”

David Bailey in his Birmingham Post BusinessBlog has a very good discussion on what we all need to think about before we jump into replacing the RDA’s


After RDAs: Look before you LEP

By David Bailey on Jul 12, 10 11:10 PM in Economics

As days go by we begin to learn more about what the coalition government, now two months old, has in mind in terms of economic development across England.

Leave aside the fact that London can carry on as usual, along with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where there is no change to their development agencies. We’re talking of course of the English regions, or rather what replaces them.

What do we know so far?

The Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) that will replace the RDAs will, it seems, have to fund their own running costs, with LEPs bidding into a central pot of some £500 million a year (a quarter of what the RDAs had to work with).

And after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles won out in a Yes-Minister style Whitehall Turf War with Business Secretary Vince Cable, popular RDAs in The North East and West Midlands won’t after all be able to continue. They’re being scrapped, lock, stock and barrel.

As I’ve said in earlier blogs, that’s a mistake as there is much expertise in RDAs like Advantage West Midlands (AWM) which could be used to join up the work of sub-regional LEPs.

And even if a LEP’s territory actually maps that of an old RDA, sadly much of the RDAs’ former work will head back to Whitehall anyway.

…… the rest is here:


Should it disappear I have saved it here ……

pdf After RDA’s look before you lep pdf

RDA’s to be scrapped

Well the first Coalition Budget scraps the RDA’s and wants “Local Enterprise Partnerships”. Lets hope these are big enough to have economies of scale and small enough to be approachable and really relate to “functional economic areas”.

Making some policies national will however mean that one primary advantage of the RDA’s will be lost, the local knowledge utilised for investment in the local economy. Who will advise the relevant Government Department that a local market town initiative in rural England is better than one in an inner city or vice versa. Market forces are good but only where there is a sufficient economy in place to allow it to happen. Seed corn investment is needed across rural and urban boundaries.

Coalition Letter to Local Authorities and Business Leaders

I wonder if the proposed meeting on 12th July between Cherwell District and South Northamptonshire Councils regarding a possible merger of their management teams will have an impact on this.

Cherwell District Council and South Northamptonshire Council consider benefits of working together.

One of my biggest gripes over the years is that I live on the border of several RDA’s – SEEDA, AVM, EMDA and SWRDA and not far from EEDA.


I really hope this “Local” idea helps the surrounding economy and doesn’t just add another set of conflicting boundaries.