The South Suffolk Taskforce (SSTF) was established in July 2017 following the news that the Delphi Technologies factory, situated off Newton Road in Sudbury, would be closed. As one of the biggest employers in the area, and as a stalwart of the economic environment in the constituency’s largest town, the closure of this plant represented a significant challenge.
Initially focussed on the Delphi closure, the group provided an otherwise unavailable forum through which to engage with the outgoing business, Government departments, local and national stakeholders, prospective buyers, the local media, and the workforce on site. By combining and coordinating the work of the individual organisations, SSTF was able to focus on the difficult matters at hand whilst speaking with one voice. The group invited organisations to appear in front of the panel for evidence sessions, and provided clarity in the local community through periodic updates and coordinated media activity.
Once SSTF was operational, it was agreed that it should widen its scope to explore how different industries were functioning, including the industrial, retail and tourism sectors. As a result, SSTF undertook a site visit to consider the future of the Brantham industrial site and held evidence sessions on skills in Hadleigh and tourism in Shotley.
Furthermore, SSTF’s collaborative working has demonstrably led to successful outcomes for the local economy that may not otherwise have occurred. One such example is the sale of the Philips Avent factory in Glemsford to the Malaysian company, GCB Cocoa. Stakeholders on SSTF were instrumental in ensuring that potential inward investment was translated into the purchase of the site by a business committed to significant new job creation.
The South Suffolk Taskforce (SSTF) comprises a group of representatives from the main political and economic stakeholders operating in the constituency of South Suffolk, located in the East of England. The Taskforce is chaired by the local Member of Parliament, James Cartlidge MP, and includes representatives from Babergh District Council (BDC), the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP), Suffolk County Council (SCC), and Sudbury Town Council (STC).
Membership of SSTF has varied since its creation in 2017, but the current standing members include: James Cartlidge MP, Cllr John Ward (Leader, BDC), Arthur Charvonia (Chief Executive, BDC), Cllr Michael Holt (Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, BDC), Fiona Duhamel (Assistant Director Economic Development and Regeneration, BDC), Cllr Adrian Osborne (Sudbury Town Council & BDC), Chris Starkie (Chief Executive, NALEP), Chris Dashper (Head of Programmes, NALEP), and Harriet Granstrom-Steer (Senior Researcher to James Cartlidge MP).
Since its inception, SSTF has worked with many government departments and local bodies, including the Department for International Trade, the Department for Work & Pensions (specifically, the local Job Centre team), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, Gainsborough’s House, the National Trust, and numerous other organisations and businesses, depending on the matter at hand. The Chair would like to thank all those who have sat as a Member of SSTF, provided information during evidence sessions, or attended business forums, for their time and dedication to the success of South Suffolk’s economy and workforce.