ACSEF (Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future) is a public-private partnership that drives economic development in the region.
It brings together Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, Scottish Enterprise, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Skills Development Scotland and VisitScotland with representatives from business and academia to ensure a collaborative approach to growing the economy and enhancing quality of life.
Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Forum was originally set up in 2001 when the Scottish Government set up local economic forums. Following the Government’s review of economic development in 2008, local economic forums were disbanded and a new structure for Scottish Enterprise was established. This included the introduction of five regional advisory boards throughout the Scottish Enterprise area.
The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney MSP, highlighted the Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Forum model as an exemplar of how the Scottish Government saw its approach to regional economic development being delivered in his statement to the Scottish Parliament on 26 September 2007.
He said: “I am aware that in many areas there are successful examples of effective local collaboration between the enterprise networks, local authorities and the business community. The Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Forum is one such example. So I want to make absolutely clear that where there are strong, effective local partnerships and strong local identity - these should continue to operate within the regional model. This Government wants to encourage collaboration between the public, private and voluntary sectors and indeed believes that more local areas, having seen the benefits of this collaboration elsewhere, will choose to adopt a similar approach.”
Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (ACSEF) was set up in 2008 to maintain the momentum achieved and ensure a continued, concerted approach to economic development in the region. It was agreed that the ACSEF board would also fulfil the function of the Regional Advisory Board for Scottish Enterprise in Aberdeen City and Shire.
Delivery of ACSEF Vision
Through engagement with over 1,500 businesses, ACSEF shaped a vision for the region in 2025. All the partners have signed a formal charter to underline their commitment to achieving that vision.
The vision is being realised by the delivery of an ambitious action plan which focuses on the priorities of improving transport, maximising intellectual capital, developing, retaining and attracting skilled people, anchoring a global oil and gas industry, stream-lining the planning process, redeveloping the city centre and attracting more corporate head-quarters.
The charter states that the partners will provide leadership to deliver the ACSEF vision, commit the required level of resource to achieve sustainable economic growth, recognise the advisory role of the board and work collaboratively to deliver the shared objectives.
The partners take responsibility for leading on key strategic objectives, agreeing the required level of funding to meet the objectives identified in the plan and ensuring that all stakeholders, elected members and staff are fully engaged in ACSEF’s plan.
ACSEF’s plan is to facilitate over £1.5 billion in investment in the next 15 to 20 years which will safeguard and create thousands of jobs.
The ACSEF partnership is funded by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils and Scottish Enterprise. Management of both core operational and project costs is controlled by the public sector organisations through their normal accounting and management systems.
The public funding is supplemented by in-kind support by the private sector.
The ACSEF board comprises the leaders of both councils, a member of the Scottish Enterprise Board, representatives from the education sector and private sector representatives who are appointed for their industry sector knowledge and expertise as well as their influence and commitment to economic development.
Board members are guided by the Principles of Public Life as set out by the Model Code of Conduct for Standards in Public Life produced for Members of Devolved Public Bodies by the Standards Commission for Scotland in 2002.
Board members receive no salary for their role as ACSEF Board members and give their time for free to attend meetings and lead on strategic priority areas and projects on behalf of ACSEF.
Both Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils along with Scottish Enterprise have formal complaints procedures in place.
Any complaints regarding ACSEF activities can be made through these channels:
Aberdeen City Council