Posted on:
25th September, 2018

LEPs draw up action plan to boost recruitment of women leaders

The LEP Network held their first Women Leaders' round table with women leaders from the public and private sectors today to listen to their views on how LEPs can encourage more women to join their boards, and what action LEPs can take to improve recruitment of women applicants.

LEPs draw up action plan to boost recruitment of women leaders

The government has recommended that LEP Boards achieve equal representation of men and women on their boards by 2023, with the aim of having a minimum of a third of women’s representation on boards by 2020, as outlined in the government’s ‘Strengthening Local Enterprise Partnerships’ review. Although some LEPs already exceeded this, others are seeking to actively improve their recruitment.

Christine Gaskell MBE DL, Chair of Cheshire & Warrington LEP, and LEP Network Ltd Company Director, said:

“LEPs acknowledged the government’s recommendations on diversity in the Strengthening LEPs review, and are committed to ensuring their boards reflect their local business communities.

“Today’s round table is about actively establishing better ways of targeting and encouraging local women business leaders to join and lead their Boards. We’ve heard some great ideas from our women leaders today, and the actions we take away will help inform future recruitment policies for LEP Boards.” 

Key actions from today’s round table include:

  • A plan to promote all LEP board vacancies throughout the business women networks established today.
  • Setting up joint communication campaigns about women on LEP boards and utilizing other business campaigns to promote LEP Boards to a wider audience of women leaders, e.g; Entrepreneur Week.
  • Target key local women business leaders and their networks when vacancies arise in their area

Bev Hurley , Chair of the Institute of Economic Development, said:

“The Institute of Economic Development has been successful in supporting women chairs on our board and we see this round table as a great opportunity to support the LEP Network in their quest to encourage more women business leaders on to LEP boards.”

Alice Webb, Director, BBC Children’s and BBC North, said

“I am pleased to join this group of women leaders to support the LEP Network in attracting more women to LEP Boards.

“Increasing gender diversity on boards will not only strengthen the breadth, depth and strength of LEP Boards, as well as helping to raise the aspirations of future leaders who are currently children and young people”

The latest data reveals more women than ever before are on boards of the UK’s largest companies. The figures show 309 positions – almost 29% – of FTSE100 board positions are held by women, up from 12.5% in 2011. In FTSE 350 companies, the number of women chairs has risen from 17 to 20 while the number of women on boards has increased to 25.2%. If progress matches the same gains made over the last three years then a third of board positions will be filled by women by 2020 – the target set by the Government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review


Notes to Editors:

The LEP Network Women Leaders round table took place on the 25th September. A full list of attendees is below:

  • Melanie Dawes CB – Permanent Secretary, MHCLG
  • Pinky Lilani CBE DL– Founder and Chairman, Women of the Future  
  • Tara Foley – Chief Operating Officer, Risk Division, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Bev Hurley – Chair of Institute of Economic Development and CEO of YTKO  Group
  • Amanda Nevill CBE – CEO, British Film Institute
  • Louise Sunderland – Director, KPMG
  • Simone Roche MBE – Founder, Northern Power Women
  • Natalie Elphicke – Chief Executive, Housing Finance Institute
  • Alice Webb – Director, BBC Children’s and BBC North
  • Ruby Parmar – Senior Partner, PWC
  • Christine Gaskell MBE DL – Chair of Cheshire & Warrington LEP
  • Dr Ann Limb CBE DL – Chair of South East Midlands LEP
  • Dr Diane Savory OBE DL – Chair of Gloucestershire LEP
  • Dr Phillipa Roles – Partner, Field Seymour Parkes LLP (Thames Valley Berkshire LEP board)
  • Eman Martin-Vignerte – Director, External Affairs, Governmental and Political Relations, Bosch UK (Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP Board)
  • Sara Uzzell – Director, Sandbuzz (Dorset LEP  board)
  • Anja Skvortsova – Associate Director, Audeliss
  • Sophie Macnair – Strategy Lead, Government Equalities Office



Media contact:   Mike Dennehy

Phone:                07710 094 999