Agenda item

Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Annual Update

The Chief Executive of the LLEP, Mandip Rai, and the Chair of the LLEP Board, Mr Kevin Harris, will provide a presentation as part of this item.  A copy of the presentation slides is attached.


Mr P. Bedford CC, the County Council’s representative on the LLEP Board, has also been invited to attend.



Members received a presentation by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) Chief Executive, Mr Mandip Rai, and Chair of the LLEP Board, Mr Kevin Harris, on progress during 2021 and the LLEPs priorities for 2022.  A copy of the presentation slides marked ‘Agenda Item 11’ is filed with these minutes.


The Chairman welcomed Mr Rai and Mr Harris to the meeting as well as Lead Member Mr P. Bedford CC, the Council’s representative on the LLEP Board.


Arising from discussion, the following points were raised:


(i)              A member questioned how projects which received LLEP funding were monitored and their outputs measured to assess the extent to which they benefited the local economy.  Members noted that the LLEP remained in constant contact with successful bidders to monitor their performance and ensure they achieved the milestones and outputs set out in their business case.   Such performance was considered regularly by the LLEP’s Investment Panel and the LLEP Board and ultimately the LLEP was required to submit details of project outputs on a quarterly basis to Government.  Such information was publicly available and published on the LLEP’s website.  A Member suggested that it would be helpful if in future reports to the Commission an overview of the outputs achieved by specific projects could be included so that Members could see how the allocation of resources to those projects had benefited the local economy.

(ii)            The allocation of £6m to the Sports Park Pavilion at Loughborough University was challenged.  A member questioned if and how the extension of an existing scheme benefited the local economy and whether funding could have been better spent on an entirely new project.  Members noted that the Chair of the LLEP Board had been involved in discussions with Government for some years regarding its plans to relocate some offices out of Whitehall.  A catalyst event to stimulate the move was necessary and this scheme was put forward given the specific accommodation requirements needed and other businesses within the locality.  The scheme had been a success as the Government’s Anti-doping Agency had now relocated to the area.  It was hoped that this would now pave the way for further Government office relocations in the future.  It was suggested that improved communications on this scheme would be beneficial to demonstrate this was not a simple extension of an existing facility, but a strategically selected project to secure the relocation of an entire government department which was therefore good value for money.

(iii)           A member questioned how financial risks for projects were measured and monitored and what contingencies were put in place to mitigate these.  Members noted that the business cases submitted by bidders were required to include a contingency element, particularly for capital projects.  If successful it was then their responsibility to work within the agreed funding envelope.  If costs were to escalate, the bidders would need to source further alternative funding elsewhere.  Assurance was provided however, that rigorous scrutiny of each business case was undertaken before recommendations were presented to the Programme Panel and thereafter to the Board for approval.

(iv)           Mr Bedford CC, Lead Member for Ways of Working and Covid Recovery, provided assurance as the County Council’s representative on the LLEP Board of the rigorous processes undertaken by the LLEP when considering projects and allocating funding.  He highlighted, however, that as the link between the Council and the LLEP, if the Commission or any of its members had any particular queries or concerns about specific projects these could be referred to him and he would seek to address them through the Baord as appropriate.

(v)            Members noted that there was a strong balance across districts and the City in respect of local growth fund programme projects.  However, when funding was announced by Government, the LLEP operated an open call process as set out in its local assurance framework.  This meant that the LLEP would invite projects from all partners.  A rigorous Green book appraisal of those put forward would then be undertaken and each project scored before being put before the Appraisals Board and thereafter the LLEP Board for consideration and approval.  Members noted that strict conditions were often attached to monies made available by Government which limited the discretion of the LLEP when allocating such resources. 

(vi)           In response to a question raised, the Chief Executive of the LLEP advised that no partner organisation was penalised on the basis they had benefited from past funding.  Each project was assessed on its own merits against a very clear set of strategic objectives agreed for the benefit of Leicester and Leicestershire.

(vii)         Members noted that the timeframe for both submitting and considering bids in line with Government requirements was often very tight.  Also, conditions around the timing of delivery of projects was also often very short.  Many LEPs had struggled to secure funding as a result.  However, the LLEP had a strong pipeline of projects which were shovel ready and had therefore benefited as a result.  The Chair of the LLEP Board said collating this list was a fundamental part of what the LLEP was there to do, to ensure it knew where projects were and that there was an abundance of them ready to put forward, as soon as Government funding became available.

(viii)        Skills shortages continued to be an issue generally, but a member questioned what steps were being taken by the LLEP to proactively support specific areas, for example the current lack of HGV drivers.   Members were pleased to note that a more coordinated approach was being taken to lobby Government through the national LEP network, as well as through direct contacts in Government and through local MPs.  Logistics played a strong part in the Leicestershire economy and so the LLEP worked hard to gather insight and intelligence and provide feedback at a national level on this issue.

(ix)           Members welcomed the approach of the LLEP in working with schools, colleges and universities to build links between business need and education provision, and to ensure there was a clear understanding of the jobs market and skills required.  Members supported the approach of the LLEP to also set out for young people and education providers alike, what the future might look like based on economic investment in the area.  Members were particularly pleased to hear about the work of the Careers Hub and the success of speed networking events held in the area and which brought together students aged 11 – 16, and representatives from over 100 employers. 

(x)            With regard to the proposed creation of the new Fenwick’s office base a member questioned whether the recent increased working from home had affected those proposals.  The Chair of the LLEP Board advised that it was too early to fully understand what the long term impact on people’s working preferences might be, or how employers might want to accommodate future hybrid working.  However, members were reassured that part of the Fenwick’s model was to create a flexible workspace which would suit alternative ways of working going forward.
Given current circumstances, member were advised that it was likely this and other workspace in the City would be in very high demand and something that was replicated as a model going forward. 

(xi)           A member expressed concern that workspace in the City was not supported with affordable parking and that this disadvantaged those in the County seeking work in the City, particularly in lower skilled and therefore lower salaried positions.   

(xii)         Place marketing would be key to attracting people outside the area with skills and expertise necessary to fill jobs which could not be filled locally.  Members agreed it would be important to attract new talent as well as support the growth of a locally skilled workforce.   

(xiii)        Members noted the current national review of LEPs, the outcome of which was expected later in the year.  In terms of future possible changes, the Chair of the LLEP Board advised that, in his view, the role of LEPs in future capital funding projects would likely cease.  LEPs had not been created for this purpose and so were not particularly well resourced to oversee and support such work.  Originally the key role and function of LEPs was to build partnerships and bring together key stakeholders from the public and private sectors and Mr Harris suggested that LEPs still had an important role to play in that regard.  For example, LEPs had played a significant role and had been a key point of contact both during the pandemic and in response to issues arising from Brexit.




(a)  That the presentation and the update now provided on the LLEP be noted;

(b)  That Mr Rai and Mr Harris be thanked for attending the meeting and answering members questions.






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