How we work
Our business-led Strategic Board sets the strategic direction of the LEP, providing clear strategic leadership and championing shared SELEP priorities. It is 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.
The Strategic Board has key representatives of both the SME business community and larger businesses operating in the area. It is chaired by Christian Brodie and supported by a Deputy Chair.
Major funding decisions: SELEP Accountability Board
Formal democratic decision-making is through the SELEP Accountability Board, which approves all major funding decisions and monitors and manages SELEP’s capital programme for greatest impact, informed by local area management information.
The Accountability Board takes responsibility for ensuring that investment decisions are made in a transparent and public forum with full due process. In addition to investment decisions, the Accountability Board also takes oversight of delivery of the programme, providing both challenge and support to federal areas and project sponsors.
SELEP does not have legal status, therefore it requires an Accountable Body, Essex County Council. The Accountable Body retains overall legal accountability for the SELEP investment programme, supported by Essex’s Chief Finance Officer, the S151 officer.
The term S151 Officer has been used as a short hand expression to refer to the role and duties of the ‘Responsible Financial Officer‘ as defined by CIPFA (ie the function of the most senior finance officer employed by an organisation).
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) is responsible for a range of grants and loans from central government and for endorsing project proposals for submission to central government. In order to facilitate the prioritisation of projects put forward for funding by each of the Federated Boards, the Strategic Board agreed on the 9th June 2017 to establish an Investment Panel, as a sub-committee of the Strategic Board. This commitment was re-affirmed at its meeting on the 16th March 2018.
Working locally: Federated Boards
SELEP operates a federated model of local LEP Boards by geographical area, which allows for decision-making and project prioritisation at a local level. Eighty-eight businesses are directly engaged through the SELEP federal approach, with these businesses forming the majority of the local level boards. These Federated Boards manage funding devolved by the Accountability Board, taking all local decisions on this investment within defined thresholds.
As well as providing essential engagement, the federal board structure also delivers additional assurance to the Board and to Government. Schemes are developed and prioritised at the local level before they are submitted for scrutiny and prioritisation to the Accountability Board. Local businesses are able to bring their knowledge and expertise to the fore in assisting local authorities in determining the right investments for the area. Business membership organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Directors and the Federation of Small Businesses are represented at this level and significantly enhance the inclusivity of the conversations.