Agenda item

A review of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Joint Scrutiny Committee, attached.


(Councillor Hodgson attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).


The Committee considered the Report of the Head of Scrutiny reviewing the effectiveness of the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Joint Scrutiny Committee, following a year since the Committee was established.   The Report captured the views of Members as well as canvassing National County and Unitary Councils to understand their Scrutiny arrangements for the LEP.  Initial views appeared to suggest that the current arrangements were having some impact, however they had further to go, and that HotSW LEP Scrutiny arrangements were more developed than in many other authorities.


The Report proposed some changes to arrangements to help strengthen the transparency and quality of Scrutiny, but suggested that the current set up, membership and frequency of meetings was maintained.  Any substantive changes agreed in principle by the HotSW LEP would require approval of the constituent authorities and would potentially require wider consideration across the Heart of the South West Councils.


Key areas that Members thought had gone well included:


·         Masterclasses and information – with Members having a much better understanding of the work of the LEP and their strategy for investment;

·         the technical logistics, support and running of the meetings; and,

·         ample opportunity for Members to speak at meetings.


Identified areas for improvement included:


·         a greater focus on the Local Industrial Strategy and the value for money that the LEP afforded;

·         analysing practical, active items where Scrutiny could add value including financial outcomes,

·         looking at real examples of organisations that had received funding, as well as those who had been rejected; and,

·         focussing on producing recommendations that were relevant, timely and useful for LEP decision-making.


Members’ discussion points with officers included:


·         the endorsement of additional considerations, such as webcasting and public participation, to improve the transparency and openness of the Committee, in line with Devon County Council procedures;

·         allowing members of the public the opportunity to express or raise points with the LEP, that can be further investigated by the Committee;

·         the benefit of conducting Task Group reviews into specific areas of the LEP, such as the review of current projects and value for money the LEP provides;

·         the challenge of actively scrutinising the LEP when funds had already been allocated and projects begun;

·         the need for Scrutiny to have sight of policies before they are agreed and implemented by the LEP, to add value and effectiveness to the governance process;

·         the requirement of the Committee to scrutinise strategic documents and the cost effectiveness of the LEP;

·         the Annual Meeting of the LEP Board would take place on Monday 4 November at the Riviera Centre, Torbay; and

·         Committee Members would have sight of the draft LIS for comment to be included as feedback to the next HotSW Joint Committee in November 2019.


It was MOVED by Councillor Derrick, SECONDED by Councillor Brook and




(a)   that the progress of the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Joint Scrutiny Committee be noted and current arrangements be continued;

(b)   that the terms of reference of the Committee be amended as outlined in Part 4 of the Report, to include proactive Scrutiny of the Local Industrial Strategy;

(c)   that future meetings be webcast to continue to increase transparency of the Committee;

(d)   that public participation be adopted at future Committee meetings in line with Devon County Council’s public participation scheme;

(e)   that the Committee write to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to express serious concerns over the confidential nature of the Local Industrial Strategy, preventing the Committee from undertaking public scrutiny;

(f)    that work continued to improve the effectiveness of the Joint LEP Scrutiny Committee; and,

(g)   that any changes proposed would be subject to the approval of the Constituent Authorities and may require wider consideration across the Heart of the South West Councils.

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