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A top appointment to lead the corporate and strategic management of the North East Combined Authority is strengthening its ties with the North East LEP.

Helen Golightly, the LEP’s Chief Operating Officer, is the new interim Head of Paid Service at the North East Combined Authority (NECA).

Helen is highly respected both at a regional and national level, with more than 25 years’ experience in public and private sector roles leading major investment programmes in business transformation, regeneration and economic development.

Her appointment will cement relationships between the two organisations who are committed to delivering the aims of the North East’s Strategic Economic Plan, which seeks to create 100,000 more and better jobs over the next decade.

The North East Combined Authority brings together the seven councils which serve County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Its ambition is to create the best possible conditions for growth in jobs, investment and living standards, to make the North East an excellent location for businesses to invest and grow, and residents to live and benefit from future economic growth.

The North East LEP is a public private partnership leading and driving the delivery of the North East Strategic Economic Plan. This plan sets out how the region can create more and better jobs to grow the regional economy and secure funding into the North East for major investments.

Helen said: “Both NECA and the North East LEP are focused on growing the North East economy and I am looking forward to working with both organisations to drive the agenda forward.

“My new role is to help both organisations deliver on the key areas of the Strategic Economic Plan, which focus on growing the number and size of our businesses, creating jobs, improving access to and the quality of our skills and investing in transport and infrastructure.”

The appointment was welcomed at this week’s meeting of the NECA Leadership Board.

Councillor Paul Watson, Chairman of the North East Combined Authority and Vice Chair of the NE LEP, said: “Helen’s new joint-role with NECA and the NE LEP is very much part of our partnership approach here in the North East.

“Both NECA and the NE LEP have major strategic roles in the region and this is a ground-breaking appointment.

“By working together more, we can attract more investment, make more health improvements, upgrade our transport networks, and help increase wealth and prosperity for everybody in our region.

“This is a very real partnership that is working for everybody in the North East.”

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