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London's boroughs are at the heart of a cross-sector partnership bid to run London's Small Business Service which w...
London's boroughs are at the heart of a cross-sector partnership bid to run London's Small Business Service which was submitted to the department of trade and industry yesterday.

The bid is based on a new Chamber of Commerce working with other key players such as the boroughs, the London Development Agency and Greater London Enterprise (GLE) - a borough initiative which already provides a wide range of financial services and premises for small businesses.

Boroughs will hold 13% of the votes, through the Association of London Government and GLE, in the new company, which would be set up to run the franchise. The majority stakeholder would be London businesses through the Chamber of Commerce.

The bid contains a clear commitment to:

- providing a strategic role for local government at a London-wide and regional level

- the role of enterprise in achieving social inclusion

- joined up, uniform services to businesses across London

- delivering business services locally or via the phone or the web

- outsourcing the supply of support services such as sales and marketing, technology, and financial management to specialist consultants or partners

- a centre of expertise for ethnic minority business and social enterprise

'The ALG is supporting this cross sector bid for London's Small Business Service franchise because it enables the boroughs to play a more effective part in helping small business and ensures that these businesses receive a more coherent, high quality service,' said ALG vice chair Sally Powell.

'The boroughs make a huge contribution to small business development through grant and loan schemes and support for intermediaries. They are also responsible for vital regulation such as planning, environmental health and licensing. London's council leaders have been involved in negotiations to ensure the bid recognises this contribution and enables local government to play a strategic role,' added Cllr Powell.

The DTI announced the creation of SBSs in June 1999 in order to rationalise the provision of small business support from the existing Business Links. In October, it identified 45 franchise areas and invited bids.

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