Governance and Transparency
The LEP is responsible for determining the key investment priorities to which public funds are directed in order to implement its Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).
Governance Assurance Statement
As a private company (limited by guarantee) we operate in accordance with the Companies Act 2006; this provides a format with which our directors are familiar as business leaders, and dictates standards of governance and behaviour.
Our Articles of Association (“Articles”) set out our membership, with the aim of creating a balanced representation from the local business environment. Our private and community sector directors and representatives are selected through an open, transparent, non-discriminatory competition, which assesses each candidate on merit. In order to advertise vacancies, a cascade approach is used, using both traditional methods and social media; the diversity and geographic base of candidates is reviewed at the short-listing stage. The remaining directors and sector representatives are nominated by their respective sectors.
We recruit new volunteers by informing our extensive network: we continue to turnover our membership as directors’ and representatives’ terms of office come to an end. This has proved positive, as it brings new ideas and energy to the LEP, avoids stagnancy of ideas, and ensures that we are not a ‘club’ for a select few.
The agendas and minutes of our Board, Forum and Programme Groups are all published on our website. The arrangements for the Local Transport Body are managed by Slough Borough Council and agendas, reports and minutes are published on their website.
A key strength of our governance structure is the role of the LEP Forum, which, through the inclusion of a senior councillor from each of the six unitary authorities, functions as a Local Authority Joint Scrutiny Committee. It provides rigorous oversight of the LEP, and challenges, scrutinizes and ratifies decisions made or recommended by the Executive Board. It has the power to ‘call in’ decisions if at least four members of the Forum apply to do so.
The LEP has retained the Berkshire Local Transport Body (BLTB) as the competent body to prioritise and implement transport capital schemes on our behalf. These represent a major proportion of our total spending programme. The Body consists of six elected members and six private sector representatives, the latter recruited and appointed by the LEP. It oversees the work of independent assessors that scrutinise transport schemes in accordance with a DfT-approved Assurance Framework. The BLTB is constituted as a Joint Committee of the six local authorities, for which Slough Council acts as lead authority. It thus offers a further mechanism for scrutiny of the LEP’s processes.
Our own Assurance Framework complies with the National Assurance Framework and the government’s best practice guidance.
Our first Annual General Meeting will be held on 24 March 2020 in order to increase visibility of the LEP’s decision making process to the general public. A further level of scrutiny and oversight is provided by the proximity of our relationship with our Accountable Body.