LEPs held back by ‘unclear status’ – RTPI report

The potential of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) is being held back by their “unclear status” and “unfamiliarity with town planning”, a new study by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has claimed. 

LEPs are voluntary partnerships between local authorities and businesses set up in 2011 by central government to help determine economic priorities and lead economic growth and job creation within the local area. To date there are 39 LEPs in operation. 

In the first comprehensive analysis of the planning roles of LEPs, it was stated that as place-based devolution gathers momentum these organisations have considerable potential to work across different policy areas. 

However, the ‘Planning for Growth: The Role of Local Enterprise Partnerships in England Final Report’ found that LEPs continue to operate with an “opaque remit” and “lack firm institutional foundations”. This limits their effectiveness as brokers of cross-boundary, strategic planning issues. 

Lee Pugalis, reader at Northumbria University and principal author of the report, who PSE interviewed last year, said: “Strategic planning is returning to prominence with different approaches and institutional mechanisms emerging in different parts of the country, for example between those places that have secured Devolution Deals to those with little history of inter-authority and multi-sector collaboration. 

“LEPs are but one piece in this evolving institutional architecture, but our research shows that they have the potential to be powerful players in sub-national development and planning.” 

According to the study more than half of LEPs (25 out of 39) intend to align or pool local authority growth funding, particularly in relation to housing, transport, economic development, regeneration, planning and infrastructure.

Nineteen refer to joint contracts or collective decision-making arrangements with local authorities, and 17 to combined authorities or ‘economic prosperity boards’. 

Richard Blyth, head of policy and research at the RTPI, said: “More local authorities are preparing joint local plans across areas that are similar to LEPs, and combined authorities, directly elected metropolitan mayors and city regional devolution deals are set to become more common.” 

He added that if LEPs are to seize these opportunities there is a clear need to formalise their status in the planning system and their relationship with local authorities.  

“They need to find more ways to work more closely with local authorities on a range of strategic planning issues,” said Blyth. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar


August 2020

mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News