North East England Chamber of Commerce: talking devolution to business

The North East England Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber), which represents over 3,000 businesses from all sectors and covers two local enterprise partnership areas, has been working closely with the business community to bring the benefits of devolution to the region. This case study forms part of our devolution toolkit.

Communications support

The North East England Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber), which represents over 3,000 businesses from all sectors and covers two local enterprise partnership areas, has been working closely with the business community to bring the benefits of devolution to the region.

The membership body is aware that members want to engage in the process of devolution and discuss the benefits it will bring to the region. To achieve this, it has established two-way communications channels with businesses to find out what they want and need from devolution - including economic growth and job creation. As part of this, it has been providing regular updates on politicians' priorities for the region to local businesses through email bulletins and some social media activity.

The Chamber has also been working with other major business organisations, such as the Confederation of British Industry, EEF and FSB, to communicate with businesses in the region. The four organisations held a regional event, with around 200 local businesses in attendance, to discuss what businesses want from devolution and, most importantly, to find out how they want to be communicated with. In addition, the organisation has been working with the private sector to harness their expertise in shaping policy and establishing frameworks for better decision making.

The organisation is aware that devolution is a chance for the North East to shape its own economic future but that this will only happen if the voice of business is at the heart of decision making and new governance structures. The organisation has been working with political leaders to ensure this happens and that politicians maximise the opportunities devolution presents to the region.

The Chamber is engaging with politicians to promote the North East as a great place to do business and support the development of a strong regional identity. There are some innovative businesses in the region but The Chamber recognises that the region must get on with devolution if it is to catch up with the rest of the country.

Top tips for engaging businesses in the devolution process

1. Establish two-way communications channels with businesses so they can feed their views back to you

2. Organise face-to-face events and meetings to provide an open forum for discussion and questions

3. Work with political leaders to ensure businesses are at the core of decision making and new governance structures