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CONSULTATION CLOSED: LEP consults on framework for a Local Industrial Strategy to focus on the challenge of driving up productivity


At a time of such uncertainty there is much expectation of economic policy. As the advocate for the area, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has a responsibility to respond to this and shape a Local Industrial Strategy for Berkshire, the BLIS. The LEP has worked with numerous partners on this since early 2018 and is now publishing a BLIS Framework Document.

The Document sets out five priorities and poses a number of questions to ensure that it meets the needs of local stakeholders. Its publication marks a key milestone in the process of developing the BLIS, ahead of ‘co-design’ with government, as all Local Industrial Strategies must eventually be co-owned to ensure they contribute to the national Industrial Strategy published in late 2017. This tasked all 38 LEPs in the country with leading the development of a Local Industrial Strategy for their respective areas, to raise productivity and ensure that local economic assets contribute even more to the national economy.

The BLIS Framework Document is a working version of the strategy element of the BLIS. It will be supported by other documents – notably a full evidence base; a spatial economic narrative; and a set of implementation plans as well as the LEP’s extant Sector Propositions and Business in Berkshire publication of 2018.

The LEP is seeking the endorsement of key stakeholders in Thames Valley Berkshire for the Framework Document, as well as input into its Chapter 6 – vision, strategy and priorities. The Document therefore poses a number of short questions to enable individuals and organisations to comment. The closing date for responses is midday on Friday 21 June 2019.

Peter Read, Chair of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP says, “Four years into implementing our Strategic Economic Plan, the LEP is leading on the development of Berkshire’s Local Industrial Strategy. Substantive work has been done, with many partners and stakeholders already consulted. Now we are asking for more input and importantly, the support of the business, local authority, community and education sectors to enable us to move forward and work with central government on finalising the BLIS. Despite this time of great uncertainty and numerous distractions, we encourage everyone to respond to the questions and help us shape an economy that Thames Valley Berkshire, its residents, businesses and future workforce deserve.”

Download the BLIS Framework Document here and submit your answers by emailing BLIS@thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk

Framework Document – Consultation Questions

Consultation Questions in relation to Chapter 2

Local industrial strategies have a very broad potential remit and in principle, they could be positioned in any number of ways.  We have sought to chart a middle ground by retaining a strong focus on the economy, and thinking hard about the nature of growth processes within Berkshire, whilst also recognising the requirements of central government.

In this context:

2-1:  Is the overarching purpose of the BLIS clear?

2-2:  Is this purpose addressed through the chapters that follow?

Consultation Questions in relation to Chapter 4

Chapter 4 “boils down” a huge volume of evidence which we have gathered in earnest over the last year (and indeed before that).  It seeks to probe the nature of the Berkshire economy, and to flush out both its strengths and weaknesses – and its distinctive characteristics.  The strategy (presented in Chapter 6) really is founded on this assessment – so it is important.

In this context:

4-1:  Do the “Foundations of Productivity” help explain the nature of economic performance across Berkshire?

4-2:  Are there other factors/issues that ought to be considered given the purposes of the BLIS?

Consultation Questions in relation to Chapter 5

Although short, Chapter 5 is important in moving from analysis towards strategy, and ensuring that the BLIS is future facing:  it needs to anticipate major risks (upside and downside) for the economy of Berkshire as it looks ahead to 2030 and beyond.

5-1:  Is the summary assessment a fair one?  Does it capture the principal challenges that Berkshire is facing?

Consultation Questions in relation to Chapter 6

Chapter 6 is the main statement of strategy, based on the evidence and analysis set out in preceding chapters and anticipating the implementation arrangements that are described later.  The detail of Chapter 6 however remains to be developed and it is in this domain that we will focus particularly over the summer months.  Comments and feedback in relation to Chapter 6 are therefore especially important.

6-1:  Chapter 6 begins with a Vision.  Do you support it?

6-2:  Chapter 6 sets out a huge agenda for action under five distinct Priorities.  Within this, what do you consider to be the most important Priority(ies) in seeking to achieve the Vision?

6-3:  Moving down a layer, what do you consider to be the most important potential actions under each Priority, taking each in turn:

Priority 1: Enhancing productivity within Berkshire’s enterprises
Priority 2: Ecosystems which are maturing and evolving and extend beyond Berkshire
Priority 3: International trade, connections, collaborations and investments
Priority 4: Vibrant places and a supportive infrastructure
Priority 5: Making Berkshire an inclusive area where aspirations can be realised

6-4:  Currently, actions under each Priority are set out in headline and indicative terms only.  How might you/your organisation contribute to their development over the summer and their delivery thereafter?

6-5:  Currently, many people who live in Berkshire are not really benefitting from the area’s economic vibrancy.  What more should be done to help improve their life chances?

Consultation Questions in relation to Chapter 7

This chapter needs to be developed once delivery priorities are more clearly specified, but it will be crucial in terms of giving the BLIS traction – both locally and nationally.

7-1:  How will you/your organisation contribute to the delivery of the BLIS?

Consultation Questions in relation to Chapter 8

This chapter will be developed once the rest of the BLIS is essentially in place, but comments in response to three questions would be helpful:

8-1:  Is there any evidence linked to monitoring and evaluation – and an overall assessment of “what works” – that you might find especially useful?

8-2:  What could you/your organisation contribute to generating that evidence?

8-3:  How much resource do you think should be devoted to M&E – and in what ways could your organisation contribute?

Outline timeline as at 24 May 2019 (subject to constant change):

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