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What We Did




Working Together for a Faster, Smarter and More Sustainable Economic Recovery

Our Strategic Priorities

Our aim was to ensure the survival and stability of our economy in the short term and to drive sustainable economic renewal and growth in the medium to long term.

We did this by focusing on four strategic priorities which reflected our unique geography, assets and opportunities:


What were Local Enterprise Partnerships?

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) were set up by Government in 2011 to identify and support local strategic growth priorities, encourage business investment and promote economic development. This approach put businesses in the driving seat and empowered the private sector to determine its own priorities.

What was the South East LEP?

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) was a genuine partnership for growth between business, government, and education.  We worked together with all sectors of business, all levels of government and in partnership with key agencies to pursue and attract investment into the South East to deliver significant economic growth.

One of 38 LEPs established by the government, our role was to fully understand the economic challenges and opportunities of our area, and encourage an environment which delivers prosperity, in an equal and sustainable way across the South East. LEPs set the direction and influenced the future priorities for investment in the area as part of an integrated approach to skills, business and developing our future communities.

We represented the largest LEP area in England outside London, in terms of population and economic output, and covered an area encompassing the local authority areas of East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.

We had a policy of open and transparent governance underpinned by an Assurance Framework.

Our geography

Stretching along the coast from Harwich, through Ramsgate and Dover all the way to Peacehaven, the market towns, small cities, coastal communities, and villages of the South East LEP area offer an exceptionally diverse choice of places to live and work. SELEP covered an area encompassing the local authority areas of East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.

With eight portshigh speed rail links, and national and regional airport capacity, we are the most significant economic gateway and strategic route between mainland Europe, London, the rest of the country with access to global destinations. We were also home to eight major universities with internationally renowned research and teaching strengths.

SELEP Area Map

Detailed map of SELEP area: East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock; showing major education and business facilities; business parks; development sites; cultural and leisure spots; retail locations and energy facilities
(Click on map to expand)
View the SELEP Area Map

Our structure

SELEP’s structure was headed by its Strategic Board which was business led, provided clear strategic leadership and set the shared SELEP priorities. This was the main SELEP interface with Government, bringing together both private and public sectors to drive local growth and job creation and to oversee all SELEP activity to deliver this aim.

Formal financial decision-making was through the SELEP Accountability Board which approved all funding decisions and oversaw programme delivery.

SELEP operated a federated model of local LEP Boards by geographical area which allowed for decision-making and project prioritisation at a local level.

Find out how our Strategic Board worked