December 2017

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Published on 4 December 2017

IED Annual Awards 2017: Exeter and Heart of Devon local authorities win ‘Most Innovative Strategy’

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 Teignbridge, East Devon, Exeter City and Mid Devon councils. Each local authority has subsequently taken ownership of one of four common economic initiatives: employment and skills (led by Teignbridge), business support and transformation (led by Mid Devon); inward investment (led by Exeter City) and strategic planning (led by East Devon).

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, on 23 November.

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.