Leader Views


Posted on:
10th April, 2018

How "invaluable" support from Acas is boosting LEP Growth Hubs

Acas and Growth Hubs are helping each other to support local businesses in the West Midlands. Emma Slaven is a senior adviser at Acas, and has been working with local Growth Hubs and LEPs to promote growth.

How "invaluable" support from Acas is boosting LEP Growth Hubs

Acas’ relationship with the Growth Hubs started when Malcolm Boswell (West Midlands Area Director) and I met with the Outreach and Centre Manager of the Black Country Growth Hub to look at ways we could work collaboratively together. The discussions highlighted a number of key areas where the Acas business support offering was able to support the aims of the Growth Hub/LEP.

The Growth Hub/ LEP wanted to encourage businesses to come to the Business Solutions Centre, and having Acas use their meeting rooms gave them a great reason to come in to discuss a range of employment challenges, best practice suggestions and where to go to for more support.

The Black Country Growth Hub also invited an Acas adviser to sit regularly in the Centre, which enhanced the quality of business advice offered to users. The benefits of this to local employers led to the Hub and Acas collaboratively running quarterly HR Forums for both the Care Sector and SMEs, which so far have been a great success. These sessions are used for networking with HR professionals and those who have responsibility for people management within an organisation.

Andrew Cox, Chair of the Black Country Growth Hub said:

Growing businesses in the Black Country frequently say they lack time to spend “on” the business rather than “in” it.  We recognised at the Black Country Growth Hub that Acas offers a lot of invaluable support that can help businesses do that. For example, we know that businesses are chomping at the bit to bid for HS2 contracts, but that they may be unaware of the high priority given to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. The free health checks offered by Acas offer an overview from an impartial source that can really help a business.”

Word of this success spread and the Acas West Midlands office was contacted by the Marches Growth Hub in Telford and Wrekin who were also very keen to work with us to support their customers. They  invited us to use their premises, which gave businesses direct access to Acas advice on a range of issues, they also signposted customers to us if they had any queries or wanted to request specific information. The Hub also features Acas on their website, and they frequently advertise our events and conferences through their e-newsletter and social media accounts.

The Public Health Commissioner for the area funded an Acas training programme on Stress Awareness and Building Resilience for local businesses, this was promoted jointly by the Hub, PHE and Acas. The feedback from these events were very positive.

Following on from this success we have now been speaking with the Greater Birmingham LEP about working together in a similar way.

Claire Critchell, Manager, Marches Growth Hub Telford

‘The Marches Growth Hub Telford is pleased to be collaborating with Acas to support our local businesses. This has been particularly successful via the Telford HR Forum, a free to join member’s network for HR Professionals. In addition to supporting the Forum with advice and guidance, Acas (in conjunction with Workwell in Telford) have recently presented several fully funded workshops for members and other businesses hosted here at the Telford Growth Hub. The Acas team are extremely knowledgeable, well organised and friendly. We look forward to working with them further in the near future.’

The collaborative working arrangement enables us to provide a joined up business support offering which can only increase productivity and improve organisational performance.

 How Acas can help:

  • We can run joint events with local Hubs, eg HR Forums, open surgeries, Q&As, or share a stand at business exhibitions.
  • You can have a dedicated Acas point of contact to answer LEPs’ customer queries (contact your local Acas office.
  • Acas colleagues can sit in your offices to be on hand for advice.
  • We can introduce the LEP to local regulators/ business forums/ partners.
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