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‘What makes good public-private partnership?’ – South East Local Enterprise Partnership legacy event presents best practice and guide

The latest event from the legacy series hosted by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) presented practical advice on creating successful public-private partnerships. The outcomes have been released as a guide to help others in the future.

The guidance was drawn from SELEP’s twelve years of experience in connecting organisations and businesses to support growth and development in the South East.

Held on 7 February, the event titled ‘What makes good public-private partnership?’ heard how effective foundations for these relationships include shared goals and passionate people united by inclusive leaders who communicate regularly and effectively and advocate for their cause.

The South East LEP has brought organisations together over the years to influence the growth potential for the South East including developing projects and initiatives to support and grow business, create jobs, skills and housing, attract investment, and produce tangible improvements for those who live, work and visit the South East.

The event’s speakers included some of those who have been actively involved in these wide ranging activities and included: Sally Staples, East Sussex County Council; Sarah Wren, Kent County Council; Deirdre Wells, Visit Kent; Helen Clements, Morgan Sindall; Jeremy Kerswell, Plumpton College; Nick Fenton, Chair SELEP and Kent Housing and Development Group; Brian Horton, SELEP Strategic Housing Advisor.

Liz Gibney, Lee Evans Partnership LLP and SELEP Federated area Chair for Kent and Medway, chaired the webinar. She said: “It was wonderful to hear from our speakers about the great successes achieved through public-private partnerships facilitated by SELEP for more than a decade. From culture to creative opportunities, from housing to the visitor economy, and from skills to business support, there was a wealth of learning about how to be make a difference which we have been able to showcase.

“Throughout its tenure, SELEP has been able to advocate on behalf of partners and a business-led approach to partnership building has ensured a strong voice on regional economic issues. To be successful in partnership you need to be brave, and it is easier to be brave together and use the power of partnership to activate change.

“As these functions now transition from Local Enterprise Partnerships to Upper Tier Local Authorities, effective partnership and taking forward these foundations is as important now as ever.”

Following the event, the ‘SELEP guide to public private partnership’ has been published which is aimed as a resource for others who are working in partnership in future, the foundations will apply for all aspects of business and public sector relations.

The headline foundations for good partnership include

  • Sector-led but shared ownership
  • Clear vision or mandate
  • Evidence-led
  • Sufficient resources
  • Not duplicating effort
  • Consistency and respect
  • Resilience and working at pace
  • Leadership
  • Advocacy and common challenges


Attendees drawn from local authorities, businesses, educators, and other key stakeholders also heard how it is important to differentiate between collaborations – usually informal and delivering short, sharp activity or discrete projects – and partnerships which are more about building trust and relationships for the delivery of shared strategic aims.

For SELEP, successful partnerships have been created through three essential steps:

  • Identifying a strategic priority that needs addressing (e.g., sectoral, thematic, geographic).
  • Drawing partners together from the public and private sectors in an inclusive way and actively listening to their viewpoints.
  • Establishing a common cause and collective ambition to guide the work of the partnership.

All strategic objectives were underpinned by strong evidence and research to give them credibility and to quantify activity. Sufficient resources were also vital – and this wasn’t limited to financial investment.


Read the guide here or

Click here to watch the webinar.

This webinar is one in a series of legacy events designed to support the transition from LEPs to county councils and unitary authorities. The next event ‘The Future of Local Growth in the South East’ provides an opportunity to reflect on the successes of SELEP, to consider the changing context for national economic growth policy and how this will play out locally, and how public-private partnership will work for the future.

The in-person event takes place on 22 March at 6 Alie Street, London, from 12.30pm. Join us for lively discussions in a facilitated panel format with the opportunity for audience questions.

Click here to book your place.