Guest post – Elma Murray on the economic vision for North Ayrshire

 Elma Murray was appointed Chief Executive of North Ayrshire Council in 2009. Over the last seven years she has dedicated herself to work with councillors to transform North Ayrshire into one of the top performing councils in the UK.

With a local government career spanning more than 33 years she is passionate about public sector services and their vital role in supporting local people, businesses and the most vulnerable in our communities.

In this guest post, Elma shares describes the economic vision for North Ayrshire.


The key to all successful teams and organisations is pride, team work and unity. Of course other factors like leadership, skill and innovation are important, but it makes things a lot easier if everyone is working together.

That’s very much my mantra at North Ayrshire Council and I’m very lucky to have inspirational and passionate staff who set high standards for themselves and their colleagues.

Our services have different remits and responsibilities. But in the broad sense we are all working hard to change the perception of North Ayrshire and to make it the best place possible to live and grow up in.

And that UNITED approach is at the heart of our fresh approach to North Ayrshire’s economy.

On Friday 4 March at the Waterside Hotel in West Kilbride, we held a Business Conference – featuring a range of partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors – to celebrate our successes and, more importantly, to share our vision for the future.

Our strategy to growing our economy in North Ayrshire is unique. It is based on partnership from across the breadth of the public, private and voluntary sectors.

We set up Team North Ayrshire just over two years ago. Team North Ayrshire consists of key leaders from the public, private and voluntary sector who have committed to helping drive business growth in North Ayrshire.

This support network offers greater collaboration, a single point of contact and more flexible support programmes to North Ayrshire businesses.

Already we are seeing some really positive results. In the last two years those claiming unemployment has fallen by 41% and our employment rate has risen from 60% to 65%.

Our approach is going from strength to strength. We have worked hard with our partners and businesses to make a fantastic start on tackling the barriers to sustainable economic growth in North Ayrshire, and building a more resilient economy.

It has given us a much firmer platform to build from and allowed us to set ourselves realistic and ambitious aims.

I spoke about these at length during the Business Conference. In general terms these are:

  • To ensure North Ayrshire has the most improved economy by 2025
  • All sections of the community aspire to achieve and benefit significantly from economic growth
  • To have a seamless partnership, creating local wealth and health with our businesses and local communities
  • The best support environment for businessi in Scotland.

We need to continue to listen to our local business people and communities and then play our part in creating the best environment for them to flourish.

I just need to look over the water to Arran to give myself a quick reminder that we are gifted with some of the best natural assets in Scotland.

I know we have the best people and I’m excited about our potential to create the best infrastructure and climate to attract new investment to this area for everyone’s benefit.

The Council, and our partners, are all absolutely committed to making North Ayrshire the ‘place to be’ for business, residents, and visitors.