GFirst LEP announces 'evolution not extinction' in confirmed transfer to Gloucestershire County Council

Having attracted more than £113 million of investment into the county, the 'important initiatives and activities' and 'majority' of the current staff at GFirst LEP will transfer to Gloucestershire County Council, it has been confirmed.

By Michelle Fyrne  |  Published

The roles and responsibilities of GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, will transfer 'seamlessly' to Gloucestershire County Council from April 2024, it has been confirmed in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday 22 November 2023. 

Dubbed an end of an era for GFirst LEP, the transfer of Local Enterprise Partnership functions and assets to local authorities was confirmed back in August 2023, following the publishing of the Levelling Up white paper in February 2022, setting out a very clear direction of travel for Local Enterprise Partnerships. GFirst has described the transition in Gloucestershire as moving 'smoothly and at pace'.

In preparation for LEP integration into Gloucestershire County Council, GFirst LEP chief executive, David Owen, has already been seconded to the role of director of economy and environment within the county council, since 1 November 2022. The 'majority of the current GFirst LEP staff' will also TUPE (which stands for Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) to the county council from April 2024.

Ruth Dooley, chair of GFirst LEP said: 'I’m really pleased to see all the important initiatives and activities that have been led by GFirst LEP, including the business groups, Invest in Gloucestershire, Made in Gloucestershire and Growth Hub support will all continue. This is testimony to the hard work of the LEP staff, board members, business group members and indeed all our business stakeholders.'

Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: 'I have been an LEP Board member since its inception back in December 2014 and have seen first hand the excellent work that the LEP team have achieved. Attracting over £113 million of investment into the county from central government that has boosted our economy and generated thousands of new jobs is a fantastic legacy.

'We know not all LEPs are the same, but we have been extremely lucky to have GFirst LEP as a key strategic partner. Moving forward, we look forward to welcoming the LEP team into the County Council and utilising their experience to help deliver a sustainable growth agenda in partnership with the business community.'

David Owen added: 'Change often brings innovation and growth, and we’re excited to embrace this new chapter in our journey. With the opportunity for even stronger partnerships getting behind a new economic strategy for the county, we will continue to work with businesses to shape a brighter, greener, more prosperous future for Gloucestershire.'

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