The Exeter and Heart of Devon (EHOD) Shared Economic Strategy, which defines the joint growth ambitions of four local authorities and their collective aims to increase competitiveness and improve productivity in the area, has won the ‘Most Innovative Strategy’ award from the Institute of Economic Development (IED).
The 2017-20 strategy, launched last year after 12 months of planning, brought together representatives from East Devon, Exeter City, Mid Devon and Teignbridge councils. Each local authority has subsequently taken ownership of one of four common economic initiatives: business support and transformation (led by Mid Devon); inward investment (led by Exeter City); strategic planning (led by East Devon); and employment and skills (led by Teignbridge).
The focus on collaborative working is already delivering tangible outputs for the local authority areas beyond what could be achieved in isolation – and this collective approach aligns with the national push for joint council working.
The EHOD ‘Most Innovative Strategy’ award win was announced at the IED Annual Awards 2017, staged as part of the IED Annual Conference in London.
“We are delighted to receive this award for our EHOD Shared Economic Strategy which sets out our growth ambition, priorities and approach that we will take to enable the growth of our regional economy,” said Councillor Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, which submitted the IED award nomination of behalf of the project partners. “Creating a sustainable high-performing economy at a time of comparative uncertainty is at the heart of our shared strategy and action priorities. We have established targets around increasing high-quality jobs, attracting and retaining investment, unlocking and enabling development as well as improving productivity, skills, qualifications and employability. Our strategy sets out a shared vision and framework to steer the economic interventions of the councils and partner organisations. We cannot create jobs and wealth in isolation, but we can create the right environment for businesses to ultimately grow and flourish.”
IED Chair Bev Hurley said: “The EHOD Shared Economic Strategy was the outcome of a collaborative approach to growth and prosperity across four local authority areas who recognised the challenge of creating economic growth in a difficult economic environment. The approach was striking as an innovative piece of work because the area of activity of the partnership and type of work carried out was entirely in response to business and was different to what had gone before spatially and in terms of scope. Its disregard for political boundaries and building a partnership from the bottom up is a major challenge and can be seen as an exemplar for others facing similar situations.”
Support to develop the strategy was made available through the Local Government Association’s ‘Economic Growth Adviser’ programme (now called the Productivity Experts Programme) which provides expert support to local authorities to deliver economic growth in their local area. David Howells, Managing Director of Rubicon Regeneration Ltd, worked with the EHOD team to provide clear technical advice and guidance that was instrumental in progressing the strategy and designing a new framework for collaborative economic development across the four local authority areas.
Left to right:
Chris Shears – Mid-Devon District Council; Rob Murray – East Devon District Council and Mo Gori-De-Murden – Exeter City Council.