The Future

With the change of government in May 2010 the coalition have made a number of significant decisions that will change the way that MENTER works in the future, especially since regions are being demolished and MENTER originally was established as the regional BME network. Other decisions/plans are as follows:

East of England Development Agency (EEDA)

EEDA, the agency funding the Ending Ethnic Economic Inequality work will cease to exist in April 2012. As a result, funding for the work will cease at the end of March 2011.

East of England Local Government Association

MENTER had a very good relationship with the predecessor body, East of England Regional Assembly, but funding cuts have reduced EELGA to a skeleton team which is inevitably more inward looking rather than working with external partners. The local government agenda is becoming very much more local!

Local Enterprise Partnerships

The roles and responsibilities of LEPs have not yet been clearly defined and no budget decisions have been taken to support LEPs. However, they appear to be key to the governments economic development and regeneration approach and in the East of England the following have submitted partnership bids to the Departments for Communities and Local Government/Business, Innovation and Skills for consideration:

  • East Anglia (Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and North Essex)
  • Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough
  • Hertfordshire
  • Kent-Essex
  • Norfolk
  • South East Midlands (Luton/Beds/Milton Keynes/Others)

The outcome of the LEP process is eagerly awaited and what is clear is that MENTER will need to work with new, local partnerships in the future to continue with the Ending Ethnic Economic Inequality agenda. The main issue will be funding and at present it is not envisaged that any funding will be available for the work in the future.

Businesslink

In the East of England Businesslink services are delivered by EEIDB Ltd but the future of such services is uncertain at present. Suggestions are that the new service will be national with far less personal inter-action but at present there is no clarity concerning businss support services.

Comprehensive Spending Review

The Spending Review is a Treasury-led process to allocate resources across all government departments, according to the Government's priorities.  Spending Reviews set firm and fixed spending budgets over several years for each department.  It is then up to departments to decide how best to manage and distribute this spending within their areas of responsibility.

Spending Reviews have been an important part of governmental planning since the late 1990s.  Prior to their introduction, departmental budgets were set on a year-by-year basis which made multi-year planning more difficult.

The 2010 Spending Review will cover the four years from 2011/12 to 2014/15 and will be conducted at the end of October 2010.

MENTER

As a result of the above policy changes, MENTER focus is now “localism plus” i.e. we identify a key locality to work in but use this to draw up cross locality, regional or national conclusions. This draws upon the practice established in the EU called “the open method of coordination”. Funding is given to those projects that develop pilots, exchange information with organisations across different countries in Europe and look to what the learning is that is applicable outside the pilot area. The localities that are proposed to start with are Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Bedfordshire, Norfolk (refugees) and Hertfordshire. We will review what we can do in Suffolk, Luton and Essex as we progress.

Core projects focus

  • Young people (particularly people leaving care/ex offenders/NEETs)
  • Employment/enterprise/skills to help BME through recession (locality focussed)
  • Civic participation, combating poverty, community development round cohesion/integration (locality focussed)
  • Embedding equalities practice with European practice
  • Special groups: Gypsy/Traveller network, mental health and older people.
  • In addition, MENTER is establishing a new inititative known as MENTER Enterprises.

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