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August 2020
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LEP ‘champion’ joins Institute of Economic Development board


Warren Ralls

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

Warren Ralls, Director of The LEP Network, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Institute of Economic Development (IED).

Under Warren’s leadership, The LEP Network brings the 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships together on areas of shared importance, reaches out to Government, officials and organisations seeking closer engagement and dialogue with LEPs, and promotes best practice across the network. Since their inception, LEPs have delivered over £7 billion of private sector investment, supported 130,000 businesses, created over 145,000 jobs and helped to build 25,000 homes – highlighting their critical importance to the UK economy.

Warren said his role at the IED would be mutually beneficial for both the Institute and The LEP Network. “I really like what the organisation is doing in terms of being more vocal and I feel it would benefit from a LEP voice, through which I can bring knowledge and skills,” he explained. “Most IED members are from a local authority background, and there are others in the wider economic development community that would benefit from what the IED does. I have built up my economic development knowledge through working in a variety of roles over a number of years – and there is potential for individuals from similar backgrounds to benefit from what the IED has to offer, its CPD provision, thought leadership and wider networking opportunities.”

With 20 years’ experience in the world of economic development, Warren has an impressive CV with roles including Area Director for the Milton Keynes, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area at the South East England Development Agency, Partnerships Manager at the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP and Deputy Chief Executive of Business Link Surrey. He took up his position at The LEP Network in 2015. “The LEP Network is here to support all LEPs as they help create the conditions to keep their economies growing and businesses successful, liaising with public-private organisations, education institutions and local government, and understanding the main issues facing local parties on economic growth in order to continue and progress growth and productivity,” Warren said. “I hope the IED can join The LEP Network in our discussions with government on issues such as the current review of LEPs, the emerging local Industrial Strategies and the continuing devolution of responsibility from Whitehall to local communities to deliver their local plans. I would also like to bring LEP chief executives into the conversation on where they think the IED can help them, including exploring their training and development needs.”

Warren, who is originally from Zimbabwe and holds a Master of Fine Arts, Printmaking and Art History from Rhodes University, South Africa, added that he was “delighted to be involved with the IED and is looking forward to getting started”. He said: “Throughout my time working in economic development the IED has built a reputation as a respected organisation – it is an incredibly valuable resource for professionals in this field to go for the latest information, to improve their skills and network with their peers. Given the issues that it represents, I see an even stronger role for the IED going forward.”

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