Local Authority Involvement in Economic Development Initiatives.

We undertook this study prompted by concerns about potential liabilities and risks associated with local authorities’ endorsement of, and (often) tangible support for, a wide range of economic development initiatives.

Some local authorities have been involved in economic development initiatives for a long time, while others have little experience of such initiatives. Around the country, there is much useful information and experience to be gained from successes and failures.

This report is based on information and experiences obtained from interviews with Mayors, Councillors, Chief Executives and staff of 11 local authorities. We also spoke to a selection of economic development agencies.

Economic development initiatives are a means by which local authorities aim to sustainably increase jobs and the wellbeing of their communities. At the same time, the initiatives create risks that must be carefully managed if local authorities are to achieve their goals.

I hope that this report will provide useful guidance to every local authority – whether considering becoming involved in economic development initiatives for the first time, or having a history of involvement.

K B Brady
Controller and Auditor-General

23 August 2002