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Capacitybuilders’ research shows few voluntary and community organisations are involved in Local Enterprise Partnerships

Research published today by Capacitybuilders shows that 85% of local voluntary and community sector support providers would be interested in working with a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) but only 15% have been approached to be involved.

Role of LEPs

Local Enterprise Partnerships are the Coalition Government’s replacement for Regional Development Agencies and will be responsible for stimulating economic growth across ‘natural economic areas’.

Limited involvement from VCOs

Ministers have asked local authorities and businesses to come together and organise themselves into LEPs.

Despite the significant economic contribution made by the sector there is no specific requirement for voluntary and community organisations to be involved in the development of LEPs.

Benefits of early involvement in LEPs

Greater Birmingham Local Enterprise Partnership is an example of a LEP involving a representative from the voluntary and community sector in its planning. Chief Executive of Birmingham Voluntary Skills Council (BVSC), Brian Carr says:

"Being involved in the LEP at this early stage was an opportunity to outline the type of offer voluntary and community groups could bring and the benefits this would have, to ensure that sector issues are being considered by the LEP."

Establishing the best way to work together

It is up to voluntary and community organisations to talk directly to local authorities and businesses and establish the best way to work together.

Capacitybuilders’ research notes that final membership of most LEPs are yet to be finalised so there are still a range of options for organisations to engage.

Read the full report

The full report ‘Local Enterprise Partnerships and Civil Society Infrastructure’ can be downloaded from the Improving Support website.