Posted in Blog News, This is VCSSCamp

The role of civil society with LEPs

In this post Ted Ryan considers ways that infrastructure support to local groups could help their involvement with their local LEP.

LEPNetwork_logo    EC_logo

The European Commission (EC) is clear, in its guidance on partnership working, that meaningful engagement with all stakeholders, including social partners, must form an integral part of the prioritisation and investment of EU funding.

As outlined in the recent guidance from BIS (April 2013), building meaningful strategic relationships with Civil Society organisations adds significant value to the strategic analysis, planning and effective delivery of EU funding within the LEP area.  We would like to take this opportunity to outline the support available through Civil Society in delivering this new and exciting element of LEP strategic development.

The VCS is capable of providing a vital multi-level support and delivery function to LEPs, from both a cross sector and partnership delivery perspective, as well as in relation to specific thematic Partnership Groups that will be required as part of their strategic development and delivery role.  In relation to engagement with economic development and structures, both the EC and the UK government refer to the VCS as forming part of ‘Civil Society’, encapsulating what we might consider previously as the ‘third sector’, and including co-operatives, CICs / social enterprises, mutuals and trade unions.

The structure and role of Civil Society across each LEP area is diverse, from business development, youth engagement, skills and employability, health & wellbeing, community reach and sector development & support.  As a result, each LEP will require the support of a mix of civil society organisations to help identify and deliver against local priorities.

The VCS/Civil Society makes an important contribution to the programme. It is capable of providing local, and through a number of networks, a regional perspective. The sector has strong contacts on the ground, and the long term experience of working to promote economic and social cohesion. It has particular strengths around the support and development of Social Business, including Social Enterprise, as well as in Social Innovation. The Sector has a track record in working with disadvantaged groups, including women, with individuals who have poor or inadequate skills, BMER communities and people with disabilities.

The above is an extract – read the full briefing on ‘LEPs and their role in the 2014-20 EU Funding Programme’ from RAWM website here:



I connect charities, communities and funders to improve their practice using data, technology and the web. I do this for VCS SMEs and grassroots minority groups with @RnRWorks, through business support with @ShaktiWomen and through consultancy and communications support. I co-run VCSSCamp and Net Squared Midlands. I like connecting people and ideas, networking and carrot cake & hate people missing out on tech goodness, and brussels sprouts.

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