In April 2009, all local government services for Shropshire were drawn together under one new unitary authority called Shropshire Council. Shropshire Council is now the biggest employer within the county and delivers a full range of local government services across: education and learning; social care & health; community services; housing; roads and transportation; planning; finance; and business services.

Within the Shropshire Council’s Economic Development Team is based at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury. The work of economic development is guided and enhanced by the private sector-led Shropshire Business Board. Additionally, the network of Shropshire Business Ambassadors, Annual Business Summit and other key events each year provides opportunities for the Council to engage with the private sector to gain their opinions and input on economic issues.

The work of the economic development service is centred on providing the necessary infrastructure to increase wealth generation in the county and supports companies in Shropshire by:

Signposting to available business support and advice and ensuring services are developed and delivered to best meet the needs of all businesses within the county.
Investing in employment land to achieve an appropriate mix of property and land developments to help grow Shropshire’s economy.
Identifying and securing Regional, National and European grant funding to drive significant economic change within Shropshire.
Developing key business sectors including tourism & leisure, food and drink, environmental technologies, land based industries and the creative industries.
Providing opportunities for businesses to influence Shropshire Council’s economic policy and that of regional and national government.
Undertaking and interpreting research to underpin the work of the economic development team, to identify and better understand issues and priorities to achieve economic growth.

The service is led by the Head of Economic Development, Mark Pembleton, and is made up of four teams which cover:

The Sector Support team focuses on the key business sectors that are of economic significance to the county, working in partnership with Business Link and other business agencies to support business start up and expansion activity.

The Policy and Research team undertakes primary and secondary research to gain a better understanding of the state of the local economy and identify issues facing the county’s businesses. Working with local businesses they gain information and views to help shape and guide work undertaken by the Economic Development team, Shropshire Business Board and wider business support agencies.

The Investment and Infrastructure team is responsible for the development and promotion of the ‘Invest in Shropshire’ campaign. They promote Shropshire as an investment location for those companies wishing to relocate and local companies wishing to expand. The provision of serviced employment land and project management of key physical economic development projects with partners are also key tasks.

The Funding and Programmes team provides a high quality external funding and project development service for Shropshire partners. The team administers funding programmes, promotes and disseminates information on appropriate funding opportunities and informs and influences sub-regional and regional funding policy to ensure the needs of Shropshire partners are represented.

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Invest in Shropshire

The Invest in Shropshire service showcases the best of what Shropshire has to offer to business; promoting opportunities for business start up, supporting local company expansion and encouraging new investment to the county. The service is run by the Invest in Shropshire Officer, Claire Cox, from the Economic Development team at Shropshire Council.

The service works with a wide range of organisations to ensure that infrastructure such as roads, business parks, telecommunications and training and educational opportunities are in place and of a very high quality so that businesses can generate wealth. Invest in Shropshire is the ‘shop window’ to promote everything Shropshire has to offer to inward investors and new and growing businesses in the county.

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Procurement at Shropshire Council

Shropshire Council spends around £160m a year on buying a very wide range of goods, works and services. The main areas are: purchasing care for those in need; maintaining and building roads; teaching our children; providing leisure facilities and opportunities; maintaining our buildings and grounds; passenger transport and general office purchases such as furniture, stationary and printing.

Nigel Denton is Shropshire Council’s Head of Procurement.

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