Plymouth Area Business Council

The Plymouth Area Business Council (PABC) was originally formed in 1999 and consists of the senior individual key sector leaders from the City and travel to work area.

Membership is by invitation only and this is simply to ensure that the PABC remains balanced and relevant; that its voice represents qualified and diverse opinions, and that practical experience from a wide range of professions and sectors is considered.

Leadership is no longer defined solely by job title, but also by influence and engagement, so PABC reflects that in its membership which mirrors the changing demographic of business leadership.

The progressive development of a partnership culture in our City and the Economic sub-region has required a steadily increasing input from the private sector, and those who we work with. The PABC therefore considers all major economic issues and may, as appropriate, express a private or public view that always aims to be a consensus across its membership.

However, its core aim is to encourage and sustain constructive dialogue and ideas between the Private, Third and Public sectors operating in the Plymouth City region for the long-term benefit of its inhabitants. It is therefore relevant and important that senior Plymouth City Council (PCC) officers and the Members of the PCC cabinet and shadow cabinet are standing observers and invitees to its meetings.

The representation of overall private sector views in the Plymouth travel to work area is a standing challenge which is strengthened by a full and inclusive representation of individual senior key sector leaders’ voices appropriately co-ordinated.

PABC became an integral part of the Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce in 2018 and is now the economic policy advisory group to the Chamber.


Summer Professionals Dinner

We had a wonderful evening at HMS Drake for the Plymouth Area Business Council (PABC) Summer Dinner in June 2023.

The event was co-hosted by Womble Bond Dickinson and Plymouth Citybus and saw everyone dressed to impress as we enjoyed a delicious three-course meal in the Wardroom at HMS Drake.

Our Guests of Honour were Dame Darcey Bussell DBE and Brigadier Mike Tanner OBE RM, Devonport Naval Base Commander, while entertainment included a Royal Marine Military Band, Sunset Ceremony and military display.


Membership is by invitation only and members occupy senior decision-making or influencing positions in their own organisations, contributing as key sector leaders.

Members may be invited to join the group from time to time, usually by existing members nominating, but are also considered by request. If you would like to be considered for membership of the Plymouth Area Business Council then please email with your company details, position and a short biography of yourself, or complete the form opposite.

Members pay a flat contribution of £60 per annum (inc VAT) which goes towards the costs of the quarterly meeting lunches and administration of the PABC, charged annually by invoice issued in late December each year for payment by end of January of the year to which it applies. The PABC year runs from 1st January to 31st December.

Any fees, subscriptions or charges levied for membership, events or other matters are decided by the board.

Aims & Objectives

Our Mission: To accelerate Plymouth becoming one of Europe’s finest, most inclusive, welcoming and vibrant waterfront cities, where an outstanding quality of life is enjoyed by everyone.

Our Strategy: To provide a platform for key leaders to inform and influence strategic and economic development issues, while promoting understanding, cooperation and partnerships across the private, public and third sectors.


  • Provide a forum for briefings and debate on strategic and economic development issues in the presence of the City Council’s cabinet, shadow cabinet, and chief officers (who are standing observers of the group).
  • Contribute to the views of Plymouth City Council and other adjacent local authorities and to support them on economic issues.
  • Communicate such views within the membership and externally as appropriate.
  • Act as a critical friend, providing appropriate challenge to the public sector.
  • Advise the Chamber on the local economy.
  • Promote the area’s best interests. Monitor (and comment on as appropriate) the activities of other bodies responsible for economic activity and consult with other external bodies on economic issues.
  • Act as a discrete high-level networking vehicle for its own members.
  • Support the activities of the Chamber and vice-versa, providing a vehicle for members of the Chamber to have a greater voice on issues in the Plymouth area.


Meetings and Events

The PABC meets four times per year in the Council Chamber. A fifth meeting is held ‘in reserve’ and can be held at short notice to respond to any specific issue. Meetings are designed to provide debate, discussion and briefing under the Chatham House rule and are strictly non-party-political. A working lunch is provided before all meetings which provides a 40 minute pre-meeting networking opportunity. A rolling programme of meeting dates is published in advance.

The PABC also hosts a formal black tie dinner for the Armed Forces and other VIP guests in late November each year as well as a Spring dinner event. Both dinners are open to all members and their partners. It may also provide other self-funding co-hosted lunches and dinners during the year for our City’s VIP visitors, and for the membership and their guests.


The Chair of the PABC shall be the Chair of the Chamber; which will provide the secretariat and administrative functions of the PABC. In addition to the Chair, at least one member of the Steering Board of the PABC will also be a Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce Board member.

A PABC steering board shall be elected annually in December from the PABC membership (to whom the steering board remain responsible). Elections are conducted by the Chair. The steering board comprises fourteen people (including the standing chair). The board member will serve for one year and then automatically resign each December; but may offer themselves for automatic re-election.

Board meetings are held four times per annum, usually after normal office hours and are hosted by the Devon & Plymouth chamber of Commerce. Functions include preparing for the next quarterly meeting, setting strategic aims and objectives, approving new member nominations and dealing with other matters that may arise. The board aims to reach decisions by consensus but may resort to majority decision with the Chair having a casting vote upon deadlock.

Specific issues can be supported by sub-committees of the steering board, individually chaired according to subject by appropriately appointed Board advisers.

Our Diversity Statement

Plymouth has been an international trading port for thousands of years, which has brought a diverse range of people to the City. Companies that are diverse in age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, ethnicity, and perspective are proven to perform better. This is reflected in our commitment to promoting and valuing diversity in our organisation and others.

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