Blogs - 22 October 2014

Blog: David Ralph – Making Miracles Happen

I’m currently reviewing D2N2 employee job descriptions in order to implement some changes in the light of our increased focus on implementation and delivery.

At the same time I’m completing our mid year performance appraisals and setting staff objectives for the coming months and starting to frame the D2N2 Business Plan for 15/16.

Desks at ‘LEP Central’ are currently a mass of spreadsheets, business cases, risk assessments, implementation plans etc, as we strive to deliver on three fronts – Growth Deal 1 announced in July – a £520m capital programme that starts early in 15/16; Project assessment and prioritisation for Growth Deal 1.5 announced a couple of weeks, and our European Structural Investment Funds Implementation Plan, which is due to go live in early 2015.

LEPs are becoming increasingly transactional. Largely as a result of increased accountability and transparency that comes with having funding – some of the £450m is now directed through D2N2 – and partly from the fact hat we are only months away from what seems to be a closely fought election.

Our staff restructuring includes a dedicated European delivery team; additional resource to support and oversee capital projects and additional support alongside our Skills and Employability manager to provide our Growth Hub, reduced business regulations and access to finance.

The LEP still has less than a dozen staff including 2 apprentices – but only 12 months ago we only had two.

Moreover we are increasingly placing a heavier burden on our stakeholders to develop more robust and clearer business cases to support their proposals, which is starting to show further collaboration and joining up.

The LEP economic strategy is business centred and in this regard is sectorally-led. There is a real challenge joining up the sector-led approach with a spatially led administrative framework.

In 18 months D2N2 LEP has in my view made great strides. We absolutely haven’t got it all right, and we operate in a complex web of self interest and stakeholders.

During their review, one of my staff suggested that in the context of managing these often complex relationships, a job requirement should be miracle worker.

My view – miracles are not required, but tenacity, commitment and resilience help in the context of a clear rationale and objectives. I believe that D2N2 LEP is demonstrating a values based leadership model fundamentally focused on improving the local economy as a force for good.

David RalphChief ExecutiveD2N2 LEP

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