Enterprise and Skills Review: report on Phase 1

Outlines Scottish Ministers' decisions to achieve stronger governance across a coherent enterprise and skills system.

National and Local Enterprise and Skills Delivery

Vision: We seek to build an economy that is equitable and has the necessary flexibility and focus to respond well to local circumstances. To do this we will work with local and regional partners to understand key challenges and to maximise economic opportunity in all parts of the country.

Guiding principles: Drawing on the collective experience of individual experts and the lessons of previous approaches, our national and local co-ordination of enterprise and skills support will reflect the following:

  • the rationale for moving away from uniform separate regional structures across Scotland in the 2007 Enterprise Network Reforms remains valid;
  • arrangements should respond to the differing opportunities and challenges across Scotland, including an openness to pilot fresh approaches in one or more areas; and
  • local and regional level arrangements throughout Scotland should be developed in partnership with local government.

Current strengths and successes: Scotland has a diverse business and asset base that creates opportunities for future growth. Different approaches to fostering these opportunities highlight successes around which future local and national action can be focused. Examples include:

  • broad agreement that national and local parties can align behind an inclusive growth agenda which allows communities across Scotland to prosper - recognising the significant current local investment and action that supports economic growth;
  • City Deals that drive economic growth and inclusion at city region levels, and improve knowledge sharing and risk awareness. These engage key public and private sector organisations, and are supported by robust regional governance;
  • the strong partnership working in developing Regional College Outcome Agreements that reflect economic circumstances and skills needs in each region;
  • HIE's specific expertise and support to strengthen communities and address issues in remote, rural and fragile areas. HIE account manages 44 communities, all of which are pursuing revenue earning projects; and
  • the partnership approach to delivering the Highlands and Islands Skills Investment Plan that matches individual skills development to local industry needs supported by local plans.

Challenges and opportunities: Responses to the call for evidence and engagement with key stakeholders highlighted opportunities for improved local support around:

  • a stronger regional approach where appropriate to respond to need;
  • inconsistency in how the particular needs of the Highlands and Islands and the South of Scotland have been addressed, despite the socio-economic circumstances faced by both areas being more similar to each other than to the Central Belt;
  • the effectiveness of the link between national and local enterprise support, including Business Gateway;
  • national skills support products and their scope to meet local needs; and
  • building on the positive impact of current economic partnerships, for example the work of the three Ayrshire Local Authorities around a growth deal and South Lanarkshire's participation in the Glasgow City Region Deal.

Action: In order to ensure that economy has the necessary flexibility and focus to respond well to local circumstances:

  • We will recognise the different social, economic and community development challenges facing the Highlands and Islands and maintain dedicated support which is locally based, managed and directed by HIE.
  • We will recognise the unique challenges faced in the South of Scotland and create a new vehicle to meet the enterprise and skills needs of the region. This will be accountable to the new Scotland-wide statutory board.


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