What is the West of England Partnership?

The body known as the West of England Partnership no longer exists but the four authorities still work together in a number of ways.

Before the introduction of the Local Enterprise Partnerships in 2011 the four councils of the West of England (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire) worked together on a number of strategic topics that crossed boundaries, such as a Joint Waste Core Strategy and Joint Local Transport Plan. This work was underpinned by the requirements of Government to produce these plans for our area.

To oversee this work various committees and boards were established, including a West of England Partnership Board that as well as the lead councillors from the four councils included representatives from business, health and the wider community.

Recommendations made by these boards and committees were ratified by the appropriate councils, cabinets, executives or committees of the individual councils. This means that the policies of the West of England are those of the councils.

When the Local Enterprise Partnership was established the West of England Partnership Board ceased to meet and the work was refocused to the Local Enterprise Partnership. All of the remaining Committees and Boards continued to meet, some varying membership as appropriate. The function of the Joint Transport Executive Committee (JTEC) has continued unchanged since it first met formally in 2009, although it now meets as the Joint Transport Board.

What is the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership?

The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a private/public partnership that encourages economic growth in the West of England region by focussing on skills, place and infrastructure, inward investment and marketing the area.

It is directed by a board that has the leaders of the four councils and a number of local business representatives on it. A number of boards or groups that deal with specific topics report to the LEP Board. Decisions and recommendations by the LEP board, particularly those which relate to public funds are approved formally and in public by the Strategic Leaders Board.

How does the West of England Joint Transport Executive Committee make decisions on transport?

The Joint Transport Executive Committee (JTEC) oversees the strategic transport work of the West of England authorities. At JTEC the four lead transport members from each council work within a legal framework that has been agreed by each council.

Key recommendations made by JTEC, such as approving the Joint Local Transport Plan or a major bid, are appoved by each of the four councils in turn and then become decisions or policies of the individual councils.

The policies of the councils direct the decisions made by the elected members when they meet as West of England committees.

Joint projects such as the MetroBus and MetroWest have separate Joint Promotion Agreements made by the councils that set out conditions covering aspects such as division of responsibilities and funding arrangements.

Who are the West of England LEP Office?

Decisions made by elected members, and with business where appropriate, are enacted by the officers in the councils and the West of England LEP Office. This work is directed by the policy of the councils working together with business as appropriate.

Officers provide technical information and advice to members, they do not make policy decisions.

The staff in the West of England LEP office are employed by one or other of the councils but all work jointly on cross boundary projects.

For transport the officers are employed by different local authorities as a joint team and take direction from JTEC and the Local Transport Body Board ‐which are themselves scrutinised by the Joint Scrutiny Committee.

The officers work to and with the four heads of transport from each council, scheme/project/programme assurance boards – all of which have local authority representation and reporting structures.

What is the Local Transport Body?

The Local Transport Body (LTB) was established in March 2013 to meet the Department for Transport’s requirements for the devolution of funding with particular responsibility for prioritisation and overseeing delivery of major transport schemes.

The LTB Board comprises the lead transport members of the four authorities and representatives of the LEP. They meet formally and in public. Since March 2014 meetings of the LTB Board have been held alongside those of JTEC as the Joint Transport Board.

The LTB will manage major scheme funding available from April 2015 to deliver high value for money transport schemes which support the policies and objectives of the Joint Local Transport Plan 2011-26 and ‘Place’ aspect of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s vision.

Joint Transport Board

In March 2014 the Joint Transport Executive Committee and the Local Transport Body Board metfor the first time as the Joint Transport Board. It makes it simpler and easier for stakeholders and the Joint Scrutiny Committee to make statements or provide overview of one meeting rather than two.  The two respective constitutions and legal agreements remain, but meetings take place as one.

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