William Eichler 20 February 2019

Local authority business provision ‘lacks transparency’, MSPs say

Local authority business provision ‘lacks transparency’, MSPs say image

Scottish MSPs have criticised a local authority provision that helps businesses grow for lacking ‘transparency, accountability and alignment’.

Business Gateway, which is designed to help businesses develop, was passed by the Scottish government to local authority control in 2008.

There are 18 lead local authority areas co-ordinating service delivery of Business Gateway on behalf of the 32 local authorities.

The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee today published its inquiry into the Gateway’s effectiveness.

The committee said it was concerned about the lack of accountability for the remit and performance of Business Gateway, and its position within Scotland’s wider business support landscape.

It also said that local authorities were responsible for setting their own Business Gateway targets and it argued it was ‘unacceptable’ that there was limited transparency around budgets and performance.

‘There is a lack of alignment, transparency and accountability in Business Gateway, and we found it unacceptable that local authorities do not consistently record and publish targets or financial information,’ said the committee convenor Gordon Lindhurst.

‘It was essential for the Committee to hear directly from businesses about their experiences with business support.

‘There is much to be commended, but opportunities have been missed to align local and national economic priorities and to make it easier for businesses to be able to access services.’

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