To consider a report from the Chief Executive – Cumbria LEP (copy enclosed).
Members received an update report on the governance of the LEP. Since the last LEP Scrutiny Board, CLEP had appointed five new Board members to replace those members who had completed their terms of office or stepped down. The new members were listed in the report and had been inducted and were picking up new portfolio responsibilities. An existing member’s appointment had been extended for a further three-years term.
Members noted that the appointments had ensured that CLEP had met the gender equality target by the Government’s January 2023 deadline with the Board now being 50% female and 50% male. The Board also continued to meet its requirement for two thirds of the Board to be from the private sector
Members were informed that Local Government Reorganisation would result in further changes to the Board with the public sector places being reduced from 6 to 4 to reflect the move to two new Local Authorities, with the shadow Leaders of both authorities invited to join the Board. A compensating reduction of 2 private sector members was planned for Summer 2023, when two members’ term of office concluded.
It was reported that the County Council had acted as CLEP’s single Accountable Body since its inception and had provided legal and financial assurance for CLEP funding and investment programmes. It was noted that this role would transfer to Westmorland and Furness Council, which would be responsible for the management and administration of CLEP funding to comply with Government assurance requirements, with the S151 Officer having the statutory assurance responsibility. It was further reported that the responsibility would not confer any preferential treatment in the decision making and allocation of CLEP funding, with investment decisions continuing to be made through the CLEP governance structure as set out in the Local Assurance Framework.
Members recognised that currently CLEP reported to the LEP Scrutiny Board as a single scrutiny body representing all Local Authorities. Going forward, the shadow authorities had confirmed that they would have separate scrutiny arrangements with the LEP required to report to both the Cumberland LEP Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Westmorland and Furness Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The arrangements were being integrated into the Local Assurance Framework.
The CLEP Chief Executive informed the Board that the anticipated update to the National Local Assurance Framework had yet to be completed by Government and work on updating the Local Assurance Framework to reflect changes to the Accountable Body and membership of the CLEP Board had now commenced. Work was underway to make the necessary changes and a final set of revisions to the Local Assurance Framework would be taken to the CLEP Board in March for approval in advance of vesting day. The changes would need to be agreed between CLEP and the two new authorities.
Government’s Local Growth Assurance Team confirmed that Cumbria LEP’s indicative outcome for the 22-23 Annual Performance Review process was: met. The “Met” rating was achieved across all three themes - Governance; Delivery and Strategic Impact – with “Met” being the highest rating that could currently be achieved.
In conclusion, the CLEP Chief Executive advised Board members that the LEP’s Annual General Meeting, which was a key aspect of the LEP’s wider assurance process to stakeholders and the public, had been arranged for Friday 29 September 2023 at 2.00pm.
Members, in discussion requested CLEP training sessions for new authority members. The CLEP representatives confirmed that offers of this had been made. The LGR arrangements for the scrutiny of the LEP was discussed. In answer to a member’s question, the CLEP representatives confirmed that as the LEP was a strategic economic body for the whole of Cumbria, the policy and decision making would remain the same, taking into account the county’s different demographics. The CLEP Chief Executive advised that the LEP’s AGM was open to everyone, promoted widely and provided an opportunity for Town and Parish Councils’ engagement. It was suggested that benchmarking takes place with other authorities who had gone through the LGR process.
RESOLVED,that the report be noted.