The findings of a review into the future of the agency – which has had a regional investment role since earlier this year – are going to be discussed at a meeting of Leeds City Council bosses next week.
According to a council report published this afternoon, the key recommendations going to the 17th December meeting for approval are that:
* the agency’s inward investment role (and supporting and marketing and communications functions) are overseen by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority acting as employer
* the agency’s “visitor economy” function for the city is transferred to Leeds City Council
* Leeds and Partners is wound up as a separate organisation, subject to the agreement of the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, who are joint owners of the company along with Leeds City Council
Welcome to Yorkshire
The council bosses are also being asked to agree to a further significant recommendation: that consideration be given “over the longer term (to) a future city region or cross-boundary approach to the visitor economy, linked potentially to commissioning of Welcome to Yorkshire”.
As far as Leeds tourism is concerned, the report says there is potential for the proposed business partnership, the City Centre Business Improvement District (BID),
“to play a role in the marketing and promotion of the city, but it would be premature
to make assumptions on this at this stage”.
Premature because the BID doesn’t officially come into being till February. It has, however, already published its proposals for its marketing, communications and branding role in the city.
Welcome home, guys!
Leeds and Partners began life as recently as September 2012 under the leadership of Lurene Joseph as a re-branded version of the city’s former marketing agency, Marketing Leeds.
The review was announced in October, shortly after Ms Joseph decided to step down as the company chief exec.
Leeds council has been funding the company to the tune of £2m a year. The new arrangements will save it £950,000 in 2015-16, the report says, with the £1.1m to £1.3m cost of the regional inward investment work shared between the region’s councils.
The budget for the Leeds city tourism function which the council is taking back in-house will be around £435,000 a year.
Worth noting that it was only in 2012 – a few months after Ms Joseph’s arrival – that all of the council’s tourism staff were seconded to Leeds and Partners (when it was still known as Marketing Leeds). Welcome home, guys.
The report says that the new regional inward investment team employed by the Combined Authority would have between 14 and 16 members, including a new Director of Inward Investment, and an operational budget of £400k to £500k.
“It will be important to retain and build on the successful aspects of the Leeds and
Partners approach to inward investment and the visitor economy,” it adds.
The new arrangements will be put in place by April 2015, the report says.
(will have a proper read of all the paperwork and maybe add more later)