Government want to be confident that there are strong underpinning local authority partnership arrangements in place to facilitate joint decision making and collaboration on growth and economic development between all local authorities in each LEP area. It’s important that local authorities across the LEP area support growth priorities and actively play a part in ensuring their delivery – by aligning strategic plans, through use of their powers and competencies and through pooling and aligning of local resources and efforts.
In addition, the Government also require the LEP to set out how it will ensure external scrutiny and expert oversight, including participating in relevant local authority scrutiny panel enquiries to ensure effective and appropriate democratic scrutiny of investment decisions.
In order to provide for this, the Solent Growth Forum has been established and it provides an arrangement which enables collective engagement of local authority representatives on growth priorities, with the LEP represented, supported by strong collaboration and joint delivery at executive level. The forum also provides an opportunity to the Local Enterprise Partnership to engage local partners and independent experts – when developing economic strategies, whilst reassuring partners that taxpayers money is being put to best use.
The SGF has the following purposes:
The SGF operates under a terms of reference which can be accessed here.
The SGF provides the key public-facing overview and scrutiny forum within the LEP governance architecture. The SGF is administered by the Solent LEP, with advisers from Portsmouth City Council. Meetings of the SGF comply with the requirements of Part VA Local Government Act 1972 (access to information) and accordingly, matters such as notice periods for meetings, public access to meetings, access to information (including access to meeting papers, records of decisions and their rationale, and other relevant papers including scheme business cases, evaluation reports and regular programme updates) shall be applied accordingly.
SGF meetings are open to the public and be advertised subject to the minimum notice period. The SGF will publish meeting papers, minutes and associated documentation in a timely manner. Stakeholders will be provided with meaningful input before decisions are made. This will be achieved through direct engagement, publication and advertising of information and attendance. The SGF will adhere to the Local Government Transparency Code.
In order to ensure good governance, all SGF members are required to adhere to the Solent LEPs policies in relation to financial and other interests and events, gifts and hospitality. Further information on the LEPs Register of Financial and Other Interests and Register of Events Attended, Hospitality and Gifts can be found here.