Local Enterprise Partnership to recruit Chair

The Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is recruiting a Chair to drive business growth and shape the economy of Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay.

After a review of structure and operations, the partnership has decided that the role of Chair should be a recruited post, given the substantial demands placed upon the function.

Vice Chair, Frances Brennan said: “We have spent considerable time looking at different models of operations as each LEP is set up slightly differently – and there are 39 of us.  A recent survey of the partnerships showed that many had paid chairs, because of the sheer amount of time expected of the postholder.

“Given our changing emphasis, when we reviewed our operations, we decided that there was merit in changing from an elected to a recruited role.  Our priorities are a high calibre candidate from a business background, with a thorough understanding of the local economy and the ability to forge strong relationships between the private and the public sector.

“I am pleased that Tim Jones, who began work as the Chair when the LEP was established just over two years ago will continue in the role until the recruitment is concluded and remain a valued member of the Board thereafter. He has been instrumental in shaping it into a functioning, powerful Partnership which has seen a number of successes and overcome many challenges too.”

She continued: “So much has been achieved already, including attracting more than £100 million of Government funding to kick start the area’s economy – Tim has created a strong foundation and his commitment has been unwavering. He took on the challenge with gusto and has brought vitality and dynamism to the role.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tim for the huge amount of work he has done for the LEP and for the Heart of the South West area as a whole.”

Chair, Tim Jones said: “The LEPs have come on a long journey from quite uncertain beginnings.  When we started out, there was virtually nothing, and no-one, so getting business on board was absolutely critical to our mission.  As the partnership has grown, the remit expanded and Government policy evolved, it is clear that a more permanent executive arrangement is required, and this will bring in fresh and new ideas into our thinking.  However, it is also crucial that we retain the voice of business and I am looking forward to having more time to champion the needs of our businesses across our area through my continued role on the Board. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, if challenging experience at points, but one I’ve relished. I am looking forward to working with our new Chair when the time comes.”