Business leaders sought to shape Liverpool City Region’s growth sectors
In April, Mayor Steve Rotheram and the Combined Authority approved plans to integrate the work of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which provides a voice for the city region’s business community, into the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.
An appointments process for members of the new Business and Enterprise Board has started and will provide a voice for business across the area.
The Combined Authority is also now seeking recognised business leaders in three key sectors – advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences and the digital and creative industries – to volunteer their expertise and time as members of new cluster boards.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
Our area is fortunate to be home to a thriving innovation economy, boasting world-leading clusters in infectious disease control, advanced manufacturing, and AI – and I want to help those businesses unleash their full potential.
Our cluster boards present an opportunity for business leaders to work with us, to make their voice heard and help identify the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for their sectors. I want to position our area at the forefront of UK science and innovation and take advantage of the thousands of well-paid jobs, training opportunities and investment it will bring – and our business leaders will have a vital role to play in helping us achieve that ambition.
These new cluster boards will bring focus to these industries in recognition of their strengths and growth opportunities as evidenced in the city region’s Plan for Prosperity. Cluster boards will be able to set up task groups to address issues affecting the performance and competitiveness of the sector and wider LCR economy.
Following a national review of the work of Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Combined Authority was required by government to integrate the functions of the LEP into its own governance structure.
LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local or combined authorities and businesses, first set up by government in 2011.
Since the creation of the Combined Authority, several LEP-related functions, such as setting local economic priorities and leading on economic growth and job creation, have already moved across to the Combined Authority.
Under the new plans, a new Business and Enterprise Board is being set up within the Combined Authority as one of the main means of engaging with the local business community.
This board will ensure representation from priority industry sectors in the city region and the wider business environment. Its purpose will be to articulate business views about the main economic opportunities and challenges facing the region so they can be reflected in policy priorities.
The Business and Enterprise Board will be the primary strategic link between business and the Combined Authority. Representation on the board will be ensured for key industry cluster chairs, Higher and Further Education, social economy, and the Liverpool Visitor Economy Partnership. Further representation will be sought from other significant business sectors, such as port and maritime logistics, professional and business services, third sector and built environment.
The Business and Enterprise Board and cluster boards will typically be composed of 14 members broadly representing the LCR geography but with the flexibility to co-opt members to plug gaps in areas of expertise, local geography or to ensure greater diversity.
In all cases, the Combined Authority will endeavour to ensure that the new boards reflect communities across the city region, including a commitment to achieve gender balance with 50% of seats across all boards for women.
A stakeholder convention will also be established to enable existing business networks, clusters, and the wider business base across LCR to come together periodically to learn about research and intelligence undertaken within LCR and discuss business needs and future business engagement activities.
Cllr Mike Wharton, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Business, said:
These cluster boards will play a key part in shaping the future of our economy, helping to drive investment and growth in the manufacturing, health and life sciences and digital and creative sectors.
It is vital that business leaders continue the good work that has been done through the LEP and provide a link between industry and the Combined Authority.