3. Ambitions for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency
3.1. The new Agency is a unique and exciting opportunity for the South of Scotland. It is a chance to bring a fresh approach to economic development and regeneration and to transform the economy to ensure that it reaches its potential so that towns, communities and people across the South enjoy increased prosperity. It is an opportunity to address exclusion, responding to the barriers preventing people participating in the economy, enjoying inclusive growth and accessing opportunities. The Agency will be able to build on the traditions and strengths of the area with an eye to future growth.
3.2. Our decision to establish the Agency came from listening to stakeholders as part of the review of Scotland's Enterprise and Skills System. In Phase 1 of the Enterprise and Skills Review, we recognised the need for a fresh approach in the South of Scotland through a new vehicle to meet the area's enterprise and skills needs, supporting inclusive economic growth and increased productivity  . In Phase 2 we confirmed that the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency would be established as a public body through primary legislation. The Agency would promote fair work and inclusive growth in all its endeavours with a focus on three initial general aims to:
- maximise the area's contribution to Scotland's inclusive growth, supporting a diverse and resilient economy;
- sustain and grow communities, building and strengthening communities with joined up economic and community support; and
- capitalise on people and resources – developing skills, promoting assets and resources and maximising the impact of investment in the area. 
3.3. The Agency will have a leadership role supporting inclusive growth in the area, ensuring an approach tailored to opportunities and economic context, recognising distinctiveness. The Agency will want to build on the work already done to apply the Scottish Government's inclusive growth diagnostic by working with other partners to apply its findings. That will enable it to have a deep understanding of the sorts of issues preventing people from fully participating in the economy of the South, be they caring responsibilities that can sometimes prevent people being able to take up employment opportunities or transport issues that mean people just cannot get to work. It will ensure a different approach to investment decisions so that they address exclusion while assisting growth.
3.4. With a clear strategic vision, the Agency will take forward a range of activities to deliver its three overarching aims. Those activities will evolve and change, responsive to circumstances. It will play a leading role to deliver the South of Scotland that all want to see, working with a range of partners, reflecting the ambitions and aspirations of its businesses and people.
3.5. We are taking forward our commitment to establish the Agency. Our Programme for Government, published on 5 September 2017, confirmed that the legislation to establish a new public body would be introduced in the Scottish Parliament in 2018. If the legislation receives Parliamentary approval, the new statutory body can begin its formal legislative operation from 1 April 2020  . We are clear though that the South cannot wait for the legislative process to be complete.
3.6. In advance of the statutory arrangements, we have put in place an interim partnership, the South of Scotland Economic Partnership ( SOSEP). The Partnership is chaired by Professor Russel Griggs OBE, with Rob Dickson as its chief officer. The Partnership brings together the public sector with the private, third and further and higher education sectors. It will bring a fresh approach to economic development in the area and help to prepare the way for the Agency  . With a clearly prioritised workplan and additional resources of £10 million in financial year 2018/2019, the Partnership will bring a different approach to economic development, harnessing the enthusiasm for doing things differently, focused on making an impact.
3.7. The Partnership will also listen to the views from this consultation, which will be valuable in providing more information about what the businesses and people of the South want. By the end of its first year, SOSEP will bring a visibly different approach to economic development in the area, with better alignment of activity, clearly influenced by stakeholders and focused on new activities, including those that support the economic resilience of communities.
3.8. This consultation is the next stage on the journey to establishing the Agency. We want to hear your views on what you want the Agency to be able to do to deliver your ambitions for the South. Those views will also help to steer the work of the interim Partnership paving the way for the Agency.
Question 3: What are your ambitions for the future economic success of the South of Scotland?