Steve Rotheram’s ‘One Front Door’ initiative will look to address long-held concerns that external investors interested in the city region faced a confusing array of different bodies. Tony McDonough reports
A single point of access for businesses looking to invest in Liverpool city region is being set up by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
Mr Rotheram’s ‘One Front Door’ initiative will look to address long-held concerns that external investors interested in the city region faced a confusing array of different agencies and bodies.
Organisations such as Liverpool Vision and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as well as the six local authorities – Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton – have often been perceived to be working individually rather than collectively.
There is a consensus among business people that the 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester do a much better job of working together and, consequently, win more investment from elsewhere in the UK and overseas.
One Front Door will create a single, complementary team to act as a place marketing and inward investment focal point for the whole of the Liverpool city region, with the Combined Authority and the districts working in partnership with each other.
The team will help potential investors understand the city region, provide high quality data and information and support the efforts of existing local authorities and major institutions. It will also commission the city region’s participation in trade fairs and events, marketing our unique assets across the whole region to a global audience.
Mr Rotheram said: “When I was elected, I promised to attract more investment and major business relocations through a single, properly resourced agency for the benefit of every borough, every community, every person in our city region.
“Today, I am delivering on that promise. We know that, when we work together as six boroughs, we are significantly more attractive to investors.
“This concept is part of a more collaborative approach that recognises that, for example, bringing jobs to Knowsley can benefit those in St Helens and Halton, and investing in skills in Sefton can benefit people in Wirral and Liverpool.
“This new agency will work with all of our partners to add co-ordination, capacity and expertise, to build on the existing good work, and ultimately benefit everyone in our city region, by helping to build a bigger and better economy that works for us all.”
The agency will work by co-ordinating existing resources, engaging with local authority teams, as well as the private and third sectors, account managing the investment process, and commissioning place marketing activities.
The approach has been developed following a review by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Investment Team and the LEP.
It will contribute to the Liverpool City Region’s wider growth targets of creating 5,000 new jobs, 800 new businesses, and growing the economy by £1bn, every year.
These services will be delivered by a small core team, overseen by a mixed, public-private investment board.
The team will also provide a centralised evidence base and access to the Combined Authority’s Research and Intelligence Team, to provide additional support to individual authorities and enable them to be more effective in securing investment.
Asif Hamid, chair of the LEP, added: “The LEP is about creating, driving and sustaining a dynamic regional economy. To do this we need to simplify the landscape for potential investors to the city region and make it a competitive place for profitable business.
“The announcement of a One Front Door approach is a fantastic opportunity to get the kind of joined-up services that businesses in the City Region have been crying out for.”