In 2012 we published a series of works that posed the question: are LEPs living up to the hype? Our assessment led us to conclude then with an unequivocal answer – which we contend remains true – of “not yet”. This was qualified by stating that central government had been unrealistic in its expectation that unincorporated, loose partnership configurations (lacking a statutory footing, policy tools and specific resources) could make any more than a symbolic difference to the growth and regeneration of subnational territories. We have critiqued the rhetoric of central government’s LEP policy purporting to be radically different from what has gone before by drawing attention to the extent of policy continuity and have drawn attention to the centralising tendencies of the Coalition government, masquerading under a discourse of localism. Examining the role of LEPs after only their first birthday, we were concerned not to pass judgment too soon. Instead, we called for a new deal for LEPs as a means of rectifying some of the most serious institutional deficiencies secreted in their policy design. Without such a direct devolutionary deal between Whitehall and each LEP, we argued that “the hope, along with business input, will dissipate and the hype will vanish, leaving LEPs susceptible to institutional oblivion”. In light of the majority of the 39 LEPs reaching their second birthday by April 2013 (the final six LEPs were approved by government between May and December 2011), there is merit in considering what advances have been made in the intervening period and how they might evolve over future years, including analysing whether they may survive institutional oblivion beyond the next general election. This is particularly crucial in respect of the evolving policy framework, influenced by Lord Heseltine’s “growth review” among other developments. We utilise the “forming-storming-norming-performing-adjourning” model of development as a frame for our analysis.
|Title of host publication||Where next for Local Enterprise Partnerships?|
|Editors||Michael Ward, Sally Hardy|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publisher||The Smith Institute|
|Number of pages||103|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2013|