West of England Local Growth Assurance Framework sets out the governance arrangements and processes through which the LEP funding streams will operate. Compliance with required guidance has been confirmed to Government including in an Annual Assurance Statement.
The West of England Growth Hub helps businesses in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to start, innovate, grow and thrive. It does this by encouraging businesses to support and collaborate with each other. In addition to this, the Growth Hub team offer up to 12 hours free support either over the phone or face to face. Growth Hub services are free to all businesses in the West of England and to date 979 businesses have been supported.
The Growth Hub is hosted by the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership and is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy.
Invest Bristol & Bath is the investment promotion agency for the West of England and is supported by LEP funding. It supports foreign direct investment, UK national companies and those companies already in the region as they grow and expand, with hands on advice and intelligence.
The Careers Enterprise Company provides funding support for West of England Enterprise Adviser Network and the Careers Hub which are managed by the West of England Combined Authority and Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Enterprise Adviser Network is a team of around 60 business people who work with schools and colleges, sharing their expertise to help improve careers advice and work experience opportunities for young people.
The Careers Hub works with 95 schools and colleges from across Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. The schools and colleges are supported to improve careers opportunities and work experiences for young people, allowing them to make more informed choices about their careers.
The Low Carbon Challenge Fund (LCCF) will support the shift towards a low carbon economy and support businesses in their recovery from the impact of COVID. It is a £3.5m grant scheme, with £2.1m European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant and £1.4m grant from the Investment Fund. LCCF is managed by the West of England Combined Authority, reporting to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) on ERDF. There are three LCCF grant streams:
This £1.7m programme supports MEs to improve their energy efficiency of their buildings and business operations. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and can save businesses money on energy bills. The programme have already invested over £200,000 in local businesses. In the first round of grants, it helped local businesses install:
The West of England Combined Authority is the host and accountable body for the South West Energy Hub which supports organisations across the wider South West of England to identify, develop and implement projects that reduce energy use and increase clean energy capacity. This could include:
Workforce for the Future will improve skills to benefit residents and businesses across the region. It is a £8.1m fund including £4m from the European Social Fund and £4.1m from the West of England Combined Authority Investment Fund, for activities to link small and medium-sized businesses with the right talent, creating new employment opportunities for residents.
Women into Digital Jobs, Education and Training (WIDJET) works with women across the region, providing digital skills and training from entry-level taster sessions through to high-level industry specified courses. Participants can take part in a range of skills courses, training or seminars designed directly with business needs in mind, with the aim of them securing jobs in digital roles. The programme is supported by £238,000 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
This £3.294m funding programme provides support to SMEs to assist them as they undertake research and development activities, including those contributing towards clean and inclusive growth. It is supported by £1.45m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, which is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. This is match funded through the West of England Combined Authority Investment Fund and businesses. Established by the European Union, it helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.
A list of all schemes together with their approval and delivery status, funding allocation and supporting documentation such as business case, scheme summary and where applicable end of project report is regularly updated, the latest version can be viewed here. The Local Growth Fund, Economic Development Fund and Revolving Infrastructure Fund Annual Report for 2020/21 can be viewed here. Previous Annual Reports are also available for the following years: 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20.
Annual Statement of Accounts are published every year. For 2018/19 and 2019/20 the LEP income and expenditure is dealt with in note 22 to the West of England Combined Authority accounts (page 75 of the linked report). A presentation which details an annual snapshot of projects in delivery as well as completed schemes and a summary of their outputs and outcomes can be viewed here.
Through the LEP, we are funding projects that are benefiting businesses, schools, colleges, universities and residents across the region. The LEP funding programmes are set out on pages 33 to 39 of the Business Plan.
Annual Statement of Accounts are published every year. The latest Annual Statement of Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2021 can be viewed here and details the financial accounts for the West of England Combined Authority and in Section 22, pages 89 – 93.