HIE will continue in its present form, says Chairman
25th November 2016
The chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has said he is fully confident about the future of the organisation.
Responding to reports this week, speculating about the agencies future following the Scottish Government's review of enterprise and skills bodies, Professor Lorne Crerar, said he had had absolute reassurance from Scottish Government that HIE will continue in its present form.
"The report on Phase 1 of the Enterprise and Skills Review made very clear that HIE will continue to manage and direct dedicated support for economic and community development across the region.
"The Review has recognised the outstanding success of HIE. Indeed it is testament to that success that there is to be a South of Scotland Agency to replicate the impact HIE has had for businesses and communities across the very diverse economies of our region.
"There will be changes at Board level, with the formation of a new overarching strategic Board to oversee the activities of all the enterprise and skills bodies, which of course includes HIE.
"The Governance arrangements for HIE and how its Board operates has been an important factor in the organisation's success by ensuring the actions we take are cognisant and reflective of the variety of interests and priorities of our businesses and communities.
"We are in close contact with Scottish Government to ensure that going forward HIE is not in any way diminished and hopefully enhanced, and that the important features of our governance are replicated and not diluted in any new arrangements for the future."
The report on Phase 1 of the Enterprise and Skills Review stated that: "Recognising the different social, economic and community development challenges facing the Highlands and Islands, we will maintain dedicated support which is locally based, managed and directed by HIE."
In Parliament on Wednesday (23 November), Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills, John Swinney, said: "Phase 1 of the enterprise and skills review recommended the creation of a new single strategic Scotland-wide statutory board to co-ordinate the activities of Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council. Our intention is that, once established, the overarching board will replace individual agency boards while retaining the separate legal status of each of the bodies."
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