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Local authorities are to have a new role in local economic development following the launch of the local government enterprise and jobs strategy, Supporting Economic Recovery and Jobs – Locally.

The new strategy is part of the Action Programme for Local Government Reform, Putting People First and was launched yesterday, September 27, 2012, by Minster for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD.

At the launch, the Minister stated that: “This strategy is an important framework for local authorities in their development of their local strategies for economic development and enterprise support to drive the Action Plan for Jobs. ”

Local authorities already play an instrumental role in the success of new and existing businesses across Ireland through the provision of essential services, and the Minister hopes that this new strategy will further assist businesses “in the very challenging trading environment that they currently face. 

He cited a number of best practice examples of areas where local authorities are already promoting and supporting “the commercial, cultural and tourist sectors”. They included Dublin City Council, who recently established a “smart city” solutions centre in Dublin in partnership with IBM, and Cavan County Council, who are working with cross-border partners to develop the world’s first UNESCO Geopark.

The newly-launched strategy, which complements the recent publication of the best practice report on Local Authority Support to Enterprise and Business – Analysis of Economic Templates by the County and City Managers’ Association, will see local enterprise support services being integrated with local authorities. It will also see the establishment of Local Enterprise Offices – or LEOs.

According to the press release: “The LEOs will take on the role of County Enterprise Boards and will provide a “one-stop-shop” for the Micro-Enterprise and Small Business Sector, delivering direct enterprise support and coordinating access to other services for business. ”