Annex D: Key Regional Partners
Local authorities have a key role to play in regional partnerships. As part of the 2007 Enterprise Network Reforms they gained responsibility for local economic development. Across Scotland, over 1,300 local authority staff spend £222m on local economic development objectives. This encompasses a wide range of activities including: town centre and place regeneration; area marketing and promotion, inward investment and trade promotion; Business Gateway and business support; business property and infrastructure development; development planning; skills and inclusion; employability support; sector initiatives; and strategy development, research and economic intelligence. Local Authorities also support the local economy in their role as major employers, as purchasers of goods and services and as asset owners. Many also benefit from strong and established relationships with the private sector.
Community Planning Partnerships
Local authorities work with their local Community Planning Partnerships to deliver better services which address local needs, improve local outcomes and address inequalities. Many partnerships have acted to strengthen their local economy. There is also a commitment supported by the Improvement Service to align community planning with spatial planning, providing an opportunity to better understand and respond to the geography of growth, development and infrastructure investment. The expertise of local authorities in driving local economic growth and the experience of community planning in driving alignment provide a good foundation for a regional approach, and offer substantial opportunities to build on existing policy and operational co-operation. Community planning partnerships have scope in particular to contribute to inclusive growth outcomes.
Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and works with partners in the public and private sectors to identify and exploit the best opportunities to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy across all of Scotland. It currently works at regional and national levels and locally with key businesses. Scottish Enterprise has actively contributed to encouraging collaboration to maximise the impact of collective action in regions that share common opportunities or challenges. They have statutory requirements to work locally through Community Planning Partnerships while all also work regionally with city regions and through other enterprise, skills and education structures which operate across local government boundaries.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
HIE is the economic and community development agency for an area covering more than half of Scotland, including almost 100 inhabited islands. It works with businesses, public and third sector organisations to build inclusive economic growth across the region.
Skills Development Scotland
SDS is the national skills body supporting the people and businesses of Scotland and brings together careers, skills, training and funding services. It helps individuals and businesses access the skills and training they need. SDS has an important role in regional partnerships bringing expertise and understanding of skills needs and a regional approach through their regional skills assessments.
Further and Higher Education Sector
With centres across Scotland, from the most rural to major cities Scotland's 13 college regions and 19 universities  offer a diverse range of courses and are renowned for their world class research. They have a key role in supporting regional economic growth, ensuring that businesses can access necessary skills, addressing any skills gaps and driving innovation in the economy. College reform has created a landscape which is better suited to the delivery of skills, fosters engagement with employers and universities, supports implementing the Developing the Young Workforce reform programme and further improves provision for the benefit of our students. Their engagement in regional partnerships will help to ensure that the further and higher education offer can better support inclusive growth.
The Scottish Funding Council invests around £1.5 billion of public money in the sector each year. Through outcome agreements, the SFC sets out what colleges and universities plan to deliver for public investment. The outcome agreements help to reflect regional priorities, ensure that institutions are responsive to the skills and education needs in their area, and demonstrate the contribution that the institutions are making to inclusive growth.
The Private Sector
While the public sector can create the conditions for growth, it is the private sector that is key to delivering the growth, creating employment and improving competiveness and productivity. Their representative organisations, including the Federation of Small Businesses and the Chambers of Commerce, bring a useful understanding of the business perspective to economic development helping to encourage focus and shape activity.
Across Scotland, we have seen examples of business-led partnerships coming together - including the Fife Economy Partnership and the Argyll and Bute Economy Partnership - to achieve economic growth in their areas. The Glasgow Economic Leadership is committed to enhancing the growth of Glasgow and the city region economy, bringing together business leaders, academic institutions and the public sector, and providing independent leadership and direction to economic development across the private sector. We already benefit from the commitment, energy and business acumen of Scotland's business leaders who have been instrumental in working for growth in different parts of the country. Regional partnerships will want to find ways of capturing that enthusiasm and leadership.
The Third Sector
The Third Sector, comprising community groups, voluntary organisations, charities, social enterprises, co-operatives and volunteers has an important role in supporting economic growth. It has strong local and regional relationships with individuals, communities, the private and public sectors.