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  • 1. Somerset Economic Assessment Paul Hickson Group Manager, Economy 9 July 2010
  • 2.
    • Somerset context
    • Somerset’s approach to Local Economic Assessments
    • Stakeholder engagement, including District Council partners
    • Policy theme approach
    • Looking to the future
    What follows
  • 3.  
  • 4. Example 2 text slide Indicative Artists Impression of Hinkley Point C, courtesy of EDF Energy
  • 5. Somerset context
    • large area (1,200+ square miles, 520,000 residents, 25,000+ businesses)
    • diverse and decentralised economic geography
    • complexity of economic linkages and interdependencies with centres beyond our boundary (Bristol, Bath, Exeter, South Coast)
    • Somerset defined more strongly by its culture, heritage and sense of place than as a distinct/uniform economic entity
    • two tier local government structure
    • contended leadership of Somerset economic agenda in the past?
  • 6. Comprehensive Area Assessment
  • 7. The Somerset approach to Local Economic Assessments
  • 8. The Somerset approach to Local Economic Assessments
    • Produce a robust and widely owned initial LEA (the perfect being the enemy of the good)
    • Interpret the statutory duty as an ongoing process not simply a fixed product
    • Rebuild economic policy and intelligence capacity in SCC via the LEA, as an element of economic leadership
    • Position the LEA as the core document driving other policy frameworks – FTP, LIP (in line with member prioritisation of the economy)
  • 9. Stakeholder engagement
    • District Council partners
    • senior leadership figures in SCC (members, senior managers)
    • private sector partners
    We see the usefulness and success of the LEA as being largely dependent on the extent to which key stakeholders “own” the exercise. These include: Needs to be beyond the tokenistic steps in the participation ladder – elements of co-ownership and co-creation regular, open communication
  • 10.
    • regular, open communication
    • engagement of key stakeholders in shaping key stages of LEA preparation (workshops about key questions, joint engagement sessions to interpret data)
    • visibly placing business community and District partners to the fore in parts of the process (sponsors for individual project strands, presenting at key meetings)
    • securing “top table” airtime for the LEA (Local Strategic Partnerships, Chief Executives and Leaders meetings)
    • demonstrating to District partners that their previous work will be integrated into LEA (using “their” consultants!)
    Stakeholder engagement
  • 11. Policy theme approach
    • Rationale
    • keen to make Somerset LEA distinctive to the county
    • tool for engagement of stakeholders
    • mechanism to embrace “big” issues (eg Hinkley new nuclear build)
    • focuses discussions around issues rather than the “black hole” to Somerset of economic geography
    • Process
    • we have identified for policy themes from our emerging evidence base
    • these are worklessness, low carbon economy, future competitiveness, rural futures
  • 12.
    • Process (cont…)
    • have commissioned projects to explore each theme (“mini” policy commissions)
    • each project will produce a topic paper providing further detailed evidence and policy conclusions to inform the draft LEA
    • these projects align to the key headings from the DCLG guidance which we’ve reflected in the planned structure for our LEA
    • work is led by different experts with a senior level project sponsor and combines policy analysis with stakeholder engagement
  • 13. Looking to the future
    • need to develop member ownership of LEAs
    • need to shape new LEAs to influence delivery priorities post LAAs
    • a plea that thinking nationally and locally about LEPs emphasises the need for LEAs (or something similar) as a foundation

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