LEEDS and Partners is set to secure a multi-million pound contract to attract up to 1,500 jobs to Leeds and surrounding areas - without competing for the work.
The council-backed private company was set up last year to raise the city’s profile and help attract new businesses.
It will now receive £2.25 million over three years to act on behalf of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a collection of councils and business leaders working together to create jobs in the area.
Companies usually have to compete for council work, but councillors are expected to approve the deal without offering the opportunity to other organisations.
A report to be discussed by senior councillors in Leeds next week says holding a “competitive tendering process would be costly and time-consuming” and Leeds and Partners would be the only likely winner.
It argues that any delays will put West Yorkshire further behind other parts of the country in its efforts to persuade firms to invest in the area.
Councillors have been told that the funding for Leeds and Partners will be repaid through business rates from new firms setting up in the Aire Valley Enterprise Zone to the east of the city.
Stewart Golton, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat Group on the council, said: “It is regrettable that a full tender process wasn’t started when the decision was made to create the inward investment service a year ago.
“But Leeds needs jobs and we have the potential to attract inward investment as never before.
“Leeds and Partners is a proven outfit, that has developed a made to measure approach for the city and has already developed significant relationships with potential investors in the city region.”
Under the contract, Leeds and Partners will be expected to attract at least 60 investments from UK and overseas businesses into the Leeds City Region area between now and 2016.
Earlier this year, the YEP revealed that Leeds and Partners, a private company that is part owned and funded by the council, had run up a taxi bill of more than £7,000 in less than a year.
It also spent more than £200,000 on 13 contracts with marketing agencies, the majority won without competition.