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30/03/17 16:22

Strengthening business support

Economy Secretary confirms new structure to boost productivity.

Changes to the enterprise and skills support system will drive forward Scotland’s ambitions to be a top performing OECD nation, Economy Secretary Keith Brown has said.

Updating Parliament, Mr Brown confirmed details of a new Strategic Board that will reset the relationship enterprise and skills agencies have with businesses. This board will encourage greater collaboration and innovation between agencies, helping strengthen the support they give to people, businesses, training providers, universities and colleges.

The names, functions and structures of the four agency boards will remain unchanged.

The new Strategic Board will:

  • Exist in addition to agency boards
  • Be led by an independent chair
  • Include chairs from agencies and non-executive members from businesses, local government, skills and research and trade unions
  • Create a strategic plan to identify priorities and measure performance
  • Work collaboratively with partners to shape the new landscape

Mr Brown said:

“Driving inclusive growth through increasing productivity has been the primary focus of our enterprise and skills review, as we believe a step change can deliver higher wages and skills – supporting our ambition for Scotland to rank among the top OECD countries for productivity, equality, wellbeing and sustainability.

“I am delighted by the strong, recent progress in productivity and innovation. The review will build on this, ensuring people and businesses receive the most effective support available.

“The extensive feedback we have received helped shape the review and how we will deliver an enterprise and skills support system that is greater than the sum of its parts. As the first step, our commitment to create a Strategic Board has been welcomed by agencies and experts.

“We have listened to the views of Parliament and those with an interest in our review, and can confirm that the Highlands and Islands Enterprise board and the boards of the other three agencies will remain. As I have previously promised, HIE will continue to be locally-based, managed and directed, and the new arrangements will protect and enhance their unique service.

“Far from diminishing the role of the agencies, I want to strengthen their capability and encourage greater collaboration. The Strategic Board will assist the work of the four agency boards.

“We will continue to listen to people’s views as we progress to the next stage of the review as we are committed to doing all we can to boost Scotland’s economy.”

Background

Skills Development Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise are part of the Enterprise and skills review.

This update on the enterprise and skills review follows the recent publication of Professor Lorne Crerar’s report on the scope, structures and functions for a new board. An independently chaired Implementation Board will be set up to build on the Crerar proposals and develop the detailed work necessary to establish the Strategic Board.