Local Economic Development – How do we do it?

With the Conservative-LibDem Coalition Government policy of establishing Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs), people within the industry have been debating the theory and detail of how this is going to work. Some have gone into detail of what needs to be done and what must be avoided, whilst others have been asking whether anyone has a model structure for a LEP which they can copy in their area.

Many are missing the point. To me, successful economic development needs a combination of the public and private sectors. It needs different interventions at different times, in different locations, and in different combinations.

No one sector can do it all on their own, and no one sector is intrinsically evil or saintly.

Economic development isn’t simple and easy. If it were there would be no need for people like me. But it does worry me when someone says that they have all of the answers; that it is quite simple and all we have to do is…………(fill in the blank).

At the end of the day much of the success is about people. People who are open minded, and who can work with other, not necessarily like minded, people, and who can think issues through for themselves and not follow some, so called, ‘best practice’ template, because in truth no such template exists, or if it does it is out of date as soon as it is written because the world has changed or circumstances are different.

Systems and structures can help, and they can hinder: but good people can succeed despite a bad system and poor quality people can fail even with a good system.

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