Report from the seminar

Annual Joint SOLACE NI/CCMA Seminar - 2 March 2017

The Role of Local Authorities in Supporting Enterprise Development & Economic Growth

The annual joint seminar provided a valuable opportunity to assess and reflect on the important role that local authorities play in supporting local economic development and economic growth. Enterprise and job creation are priorities for local government and will continue to occupy centre stage for some time to come.

Joe MacGrath, Chairman of the CCMA (County & City Management Association) stated that “while we strive at local level to achieve these joint objective, their collective and synergistic value in supporting national economic growth should never be underestimated”.

Over the course of the seminar, a range of views and some of the key messages which were imparted, include:

  • The imperative to steer a steady course in an uncertain political environment.
  • Understanding “risk” as opposed to “uncertainty”.
  • We were presented with an economic outlook for which there is reason to be optimistic with positive growth potential.
  • Some critical areas in which Local Government can make a difference including mitigating the impacts of “Brexit”, the area of inclusive growth and well-being.
  • The realities of trading in a pre and post “Brexit” environment.
  • On the question of apprenticeships, perhaps we need to change the title or align the apprenticeship model more centrally within the education process.
  • The concept of the entrepreneurial eco-system and its capacity to develop vibrant economic regions.
  • Challenges facing a fledgling business, priorities for business and some new opportunities.
  • And finally, a timely reminder of the planning challenges.