Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Today is the 54th of April

Today is the 54th of April - at least according to the calendar that Cornwall Council Leader Alec Robertson is working to.

Cllr Robertson agreed to ensure that the board members of the new Cornwall Local Enterprise Partnership would be announced by the end of April but we still know no names other than the chair - Chris Pomfret.

I accept that the private sector board members (a further four or five names) are a matter for the private sector, but we were told by Cllr Robertson back in mid April that the interview process was all but complete and the names would be announced before the end of that month. If there have been delays, we should be told why and given a new date for the announcement.

But the delay in naming of the public sector board members is baffling. This, after all, is a matter for the two councils - Cornwall and the Council of the Isles of Scilly. We know that Cllr Robertson himself will be one nominee and that the Cornwall Council cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration is another. This was to have been Carolyn Rule, but she was shunted sideways in last week's reshuffle and so her place will be taken by Chris Ridgers. As for the nominee from the Isles of Scilly, the nominee from the university and the third Cornwall Council nominee (the 'cross party' one) we have no clue and no explanation as to why there has been a delay.

As my colleague Edwina Hannaford - who has been monitoring the situation closely - points out, most of the other LEPs(26 out of 34) have announced both their chairs and their board members.

Other questions abound. Will there be anyone on the board to represent the third sector? The most we have been promised so far is that someone from the private sector side will have charity experience. That's not the same thing and (in my opinion) would be a missed opportunity for Cornwall's LEP to fully reflect the economy here in the Duchy.

And will the LEP board be yet another case of jobs for the boys?

1 comment:

richard said...

The LEP board announcement is turning into an absolute fiasco. With one of the first LEPs out of the trap Cornwall is lagging way behind. It is preventing the open consultaion on the Enterprise zone question with the business community and this is inacceptable.

On the Enterprise zone matter:

Newquay airport will attract organic growth - history shows that there is little incentive needed for airports to developn into commecicl operations (especially Newquay..with no residential issues). As an example look at the history of Shannon aiport.

If the EZ designation is just used to back obvious winners will it provide additionality? I would suggest no.

It is out of order for the council leader to use the media to influence a decision that is to be taken by a yet to be convened LEP board. This behaviour only serves to turn off the business community and they will be reluctant to engage.

East Cornwall has hardly benifited from Objective One or Convergence funding ( less than 5% has ended up East of Bodmin) Let's have fair distribution of the economic incentives.

Alec Robertson must stand by his promise of cross party representation on the LEP board. If not there will be a strong rebuke by the private sector with most organisations worried about their association with any one particular political party (most are apolitical) – Besides a promise is a promise !!