The future of LEPs: the small business perspective

3rd September 2014.

When local enterprise partnerships were launched in 2011, the Coalition Government said businesses would be ‘the heart and soul’ of LEPs. The aim was to bring business and civic leaders together to determine local priorities and drive growth and prosperity.

But three years on, to what extent has that vision been realised? Are LEPs succeeding in joining up local economic development in a way that engages all stakeholders – including small and micro businesses and the social sector? Do they have clarity of purpose?

This report, produced in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses, seeks to answer these questions and sets out a way forward for the future development of LEPs.

Involving interviews with 36 out of the 39 LEPs, combined with input from a wide range of other parties, it reveals there are serious flaws that must be addressed if partnerships are to fulfil their true potential.