How the Commission works

The Commission is free to develop its own work programme in consultation with the leaders of the 15 local authorities that operate in the Greater Essex area (Southend, Thurrock, the County of Essex).

The Commission’s work builds on existing economic studies and evidence that has already been collected within Greater Essex. Its work identifies areas where further analysis is required and, in these cases, commissions and undertakes new research and analysis.

The Commission launched in May 2016 and it initial activity involves:

a. engagement with local authority leaders and other key partners, help set the Commission shape its analytical work programme;

b. gathering previous studies focused on economic issues in Greater Essex from across the public, private and higher education sector (e.g. documents developed to inform local plan development, our analysis of the skills system, information/data from public service partners); and 

c. the development of a baseline report assessing the performance of the economy against key economic criteria and identifying issues that may require further analysis.

Commissioners will meet as a collective group around four-five times a year, with an ongoing programme of analysis undertaken by the Commission’s Economic Consultant.

The Commission is hosted by Anglia Ruskin University.


Terms of reference for the independent Commission are as follows:

The Essex Economic Commission will:

  • Develop an evidence base on the economic performance and potential of Greater Essex and its component parts that commands attention at the highest levels of Government;
  •  Reframe thinking about devolution within the UK policy debate – exploring how decisions taken at local level can unlock growth and improve social outcomes in multi-centred economies as well as in England’s core cities;
  • Provide impartial advice and guidance, on an ongoing basis, on the performance and growth of the Greater Essex Economy;
  • Inform choices on policy priorities and strategic investment that are made locally, at the Greater Essex level, at national level and at European level; and
  • Foster a common understanding of the future development of Greater Essex’s economy and the long term drivers for change across local partners, Government and Ministers.

The Commission will provide a robust and independent assessment of the Greater Essex economy and its potential for growth. This will provide the evidence base on which Greater Essex partners, and partners at national level, can continue to build a collaborative approach to growth. The panel will carry out and publish a detailed review to include:

  • a full economic baseline study;
  • economic forecasting to determine the potential impact of various scenarios over the next ten years and how the Greater Essex economy could respond to these; 
  • an assessment of whether the Greater Essex economy is fit for purpose and its future economic potential;
  • analysis of how partners’ investment in key projects  (e.g. key towns, key sectors, key infrastructure) across Greater Essex could maximise long-term returns for all areas; and 
  • an analysis of the impact that the devolution of key economic powers and levers could have on economic output and productivity.

The Commission will:

  • undertake (and commission as required) high quality research into the performance and opportunities of the Greater Essex economy, acquiring and developing data as necessary to build on existing national and local sources; 
  •  engage with local public and private sector stakeholders to build a thorough understanding of the local economic environment and to learn from previous work carried out by partners; 
  •  be an independent body, which will provide ongoing advice to Council leaders, issuing specific reports at times to be agreed; and
  • be supported by an independent secretariat.