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Paper 8 - 25 September 1998 Meeting 

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

25th September 1998

HAMPSHIRE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP - PROGRESS REPORT

Report by the HEP Economic Strategy Group

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Association is recommended to:

(i) Note the increasingly important role being played by the Hampshire Economic Partnership in the economic development of the region;

(ii) Confirm the appointment of Crs. Rodney Sabine (Winchester), Mike Woodhall (Hampshire) and Mark Hancock (Portsmouth) as co-opted members of the newly constituted Board.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 This report outlines the background and structure of the Hampshire Economic Partnership (HEP) and sets out a number of important current and emerging issues. In addition, the report seeks to confirm member representation on the HEP Board and identifies a need to explore ways of increasing awareness and support for HEP among elected members in order to maximise the benefits to businesses, local authorities and the regional economy as a whole.

2. BACKGROUND

2.1 The Hampshire Economic Partnership brings together business people, local government, central government and business and training organisations. It plays a vital role in co-ordinating the work being undertaken in economic development in the area, providing a strong united voice for Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton at national and international level. It is an excellent example of partnership between the private and public sectors.

2.2 The Partnership was formed in 1995 from its origins as a liaison group linking business and local authorities. HEP is now a high profile, pro-active organisation which aims to improve the long term economic prosperity of the region. Its strategic Action Plan and Programme is developed through the work of task groups, led mainly by business people, many of which are sector specific. The Partnership currently has a budget funded by its local government members but it also receives significant support in kind from the business community by way of staff resources, facilities and services.

2.3 The establishment of the Regional Development Agency (RDA) and new bidding procedures have made it important for HEP to become a legally constituted body and it is shortly to become a company limited by guarantee. The Government Office for the South East (GOSE) and South East Regional Investment Ltd. (SERIL), now look to HEP as the sub- regional partnership for the Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton area.

2.4 The overall direction of the Partnership is determined by a board of directors, made up predominantly of business people, supported by Hampshire TEC, Chambers of Commerce, CBI, Institute of Directors, Trade Unions and local government. Local authorities throughout the Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton area have three representatives on the Board nominated by this Association.

2.5 Executive support to the Partnership is provided by the Board Secretary and the Economic Strategy Group, which consists of senior officers (mostly Chief Executives) of all local authority members in Hampshire, Hampshire TEC, the Government Office for the South East (GOSE), Chambers of Commerce and the CBI.

3. TASK GROUPS

3.1 There are currently eleven Task Groups working to implement the HEP's Action Plan and Programme, and these are summarised below:

The Farnborough Aerospace Consortium is a separate limited company, with over 200 members from across Southern England. The FAC runs a successful series of seminars and provides advice and support to smaller companies. The Consortium recently organised a stand at the Farnborough Airshow which enabled 30 smaller companies to gain access to the exhibition facilities.

Action for Skills provides a business led approach to identifying and addressing local skills issues, working with schools and colleges and local companies.

The Defence Group addresses defence issues and opportunities such as the Strategic Defence Review, the role of DERA, changes to MOD procurement practices and defence diversification. The Group is organising a high profile event for SME's on 23rd October, at which the keynote speaker will be John Spellar MP, Under Secretary of State for the MOD.

The Investment and Marketing Group promotes international trade, inward investment and after care programmes and is responsible for case handling of investment queries. HEP nominates two Directors to the Board of South East Regional Investment Ltd (SERIL). The Group is responsible for organising the HEP Conference on 5th October.

The Transportation Group has recently undertaken a major survey of over 1,000 businesses on their transportation needs, which it is hoped will provide significant input to the development of Transport Plans by local authorities.

The Solent Maritime Group is looking at supply chain development, re-skilling, legislative change and new materials in the marine industry.

3.2 Other Task Groups focus on issues facing the construction industry, engineering, innovation, rural economy and tourism.

4. CURRENT AND EMERGING ISSUES

4.1 The major initiatives being progressed by the Partnership include:

* Finalising the limited company arrangements;

* Preparation of papers setting out key issues to be addressed by the Regional Development Agency;

* Arrangements for the HEP Conference (see below); and

* Preparation of Business Plan for 1999/2000 which will be based on issues and priorities identified by partners.

4.2 The HEP is also reviewing support arrangements for the new limited company, through the Economic Strategy Group.

5. MEMBER REPRESENTATION

5.1 The confidence and support of elected members representing the political authorities is crucial to the long term success of the Partnership. The emergence of RDA's and Government commitment to working with Economic Partnerships will increase the role and significance of HEP. This in turn will necessitate greater member awareness and support. Further consideration is being given to this issue which will be the subject of a future report. Representatives from partner authorities will be invited to the HEP Conference in October.

5.2 There are currently three members of the Association on the Board of the HEP. These are Crs. Rodney Sabine (Winchester), Mike Woodhall (Hampshire) and Mark Hancock (Portsmouth). With the transition to a Company Limited by Guarantee, it is now proposed that these members be confirmed as co-opted members of the newly constituted Board.

6. HEP CONFERENCE, 5TH OCTOBER 1998

6.1 The Conference aims to:

* update HEP members and senior decision makers on the work and progress of the Partnership in improving Hampshire's competitiveness;

* identify the need and required actions for the HEP to meet the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) and emerging skills shortages; and

* draw up key priorities for HEP in the context of the new RDA.

6.2 The Conference will begin with presentations on current HEP initiatives, including two case studies and HEP's role with the RDA, followed by a choice of workshops on six key issues (skills, transportation, business competitiveness, rural economy, development and regeneration and Europe). After feedback from the workshops, the Conference will culminate in agreeing an Action Plan for future working.

7. CONCLUSIONS

7.1 The Hampshire Economic Partnership has gained momentum since its inception and is now a very important player in economic development in the region. It has shown a willingness and an ability to reflect the diverse interests of all its members.

7.2 The role of the HEP will be further enhanced by its recognition as a key regional body by GOSE, SERIL and the new RDA.

7.3 The confidence and support of elected members representing the political authorities is crucial to the long term success of the Partnership.

ANDREW LLOYD
 Chief Executive, Rushmoor Borough Council
 Vice-Chairman of HEP Economic Strategy Group

 

Last update: 20/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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