Local Economic Assessments: resource guide for the West Midlands

It became compulsory for Strategic Local Authorities to produce Local Economic Assessments (LEAs) on 1st April 2010. LEAs are intended to bring together economic intelligence to inform a range of local and regional strategies.

One of these is the new Regional Integrated Strategy for the West Midlands.

The West Midlands Joint Strategy and Investment Board steering the regional strategy has agreed with Chief Executives that LEA input will be on a sub-regional basis.

The LEA summaries will be structured around a series of questions relating to regional issues set out in a sub-regional framework document (doc, 578kb) drafted by Advantage West Midlands and the West Midlands Leaders Board.

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ONS Local Profiles data CD now available

Office for National StatisticsThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) have created and made available to data users a free CD with local data profiles.

These Local Profiles have been developed by the ONS Centre for Regional and Local Statistics and represent a significant milestone in providing local authorities with the means to gain value from official statistics. They will help authorities to better understand the economic, social and environmental picture for their area.

The first set of Profiles are included as part of an ONS toolkit, available on CD, that will be of great value to local authorities when preparing their Local Economic Assessments (LEA), in addition to many other users of official statistics.

Key LEA contacts in local authorities will shortly receive the CD by mail.

The toolkit also contains commuting data, the small area Change over Time Analysis Viewer, Inter Departmental Business Register data, and the Atlas of Deprivation.

Find out more information about the free Local Profiles CD from the ONS, or email better.info@ons.gov.uk.

New report sheds more light on West Midlands geography

In the public sector, many of our policies, strategies and services follow administrative boundaries such as regions, local authorities, police force areas, primary care trusts or even wards.

But out there in the real world, people don’t live their lives as neatly as that. Many people live in one place and work, learn or shop in others. Businesses too have customers and suppliers from many different places.

Whilst every person, and every business is different, understanding the patterns in these kinds of links between places is important.

For example, when analysing the local labour market it is no good just looking at the people who live locally if many local workers come from elsewhere.

Understanding “functional geographies” has always been important but the issue’s profile has been raised in recent times as government has sought to devolve more responsibility for economic development to sub-regional and local areas.

Over the next year all upper tier and unitary local authorities will need to produce Local Economic Assessments. Government guidance says that these will need to “identify the economic linkages within the area assessed and between it and the wider economy.”

In preparation for this, the Observatory has just published a report looking at some of the key sub-regional links between places in the West Midlands.

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Regional Skills Assessment published

The Regional Skills Assessment for 2009 is now available. This extensive research gives an overview of the changing needs of the West Midlands’ labour market, along with a detailed exploration of key issues by sector, by sub-region and for key groups.

This year’s main report presents a few distinctive sections compared to previous years. It mainly focuses on recent trends, looking also at the impact of recession and prospects for recovery.

The main report is complemented by two reports identifying the main skills needs and issues in each of the region’s key sectors and clusters.

The Assessment also includes a series of six detailed sub-​regional skills profiles assessing recent trends and future prospects for both the demand for and supply of skills. The profiles highlight key issues to support, in particular, development of Local Economic Assessments by local authorities, the commissioning of 16-​19 learning provision and the work of sub-​regional Employment and Skills Boards. The sub-regional assessments cover:

  • Birmingham and Solihull
  • Black Country
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  • Shropshire
  • Staffordshire

In addition, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to future prospects in the region’s labour market with forecasts covering both short-​medium term (2009 to 2014) and long term (to 2024), using the Observatory’s economic forecasting model.

View the Regional Skills Assessment 2009 pages on wmro.org

Key contact: Andy Phillips, Head of Skills Research