A new push to attract fresh inward investment into the "wider" West Midlands has been launched by City Region leaders, it emerged today.

Among the first areas to be targeted in the new initiative are business and professional services; building and environmental technologies; ICT (information and communication technology), and medical and transport technologies.

Coun Mike Whitby, chairman of the City Region board and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "Our aim is to gain and retain more job and wealth creating investment to the City Region and wider West Midlands.

"The large number of competing organisations in a relatively-compact geographical area creates a potentially-complicated landscape for the investor.

"We will market City Region as a single access point so that we improve the collaborative way in which the relevant information is produced and presented to prospective investors."

He added: "The primary aim of working together on the scale of the City Region is about increasing the levels of investment to transform its economy. We will not create new structures and layers of bureaucracy.

"Working together as a City Region will improve effectiveness and efficiency in attracting and sustaining investment."

Coun Whitby said that the most notable result of discussions had been "the genuine commitment by partners to work together recognising that collective benefits can be achieved".

A working group headed by Richard Butler, head of inward investment at regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, had been established to improve communications across the region, he added.

"Discussions with partners have resulted in agreement on a set of principles for joint working on inward investment. Partners will still seek to attract investment for the benefit of their immediate locality.

"However, by working together we can ensure that investment opportunities are not lost from the City Region or the wider West Midlands.

"In future greater transparency of decision making is essential in developing trust between partners and in demonstrating the collective benefit for the City Region ahead of the individual interests of partners."

City Region is currently moving the initiative forward with an exchange of information relating to budgets, staffing structure and key contacts and current plans.

Clusters are to be established to channel efforts across the region.

Initially they will concentrate on business and professional services; building and environmental technologies, ICT, medical technologies and transport technologies.

However, with no possibility of further staffing or funding, the City Region collaboration is planning to establish more effective and professional sales activities to follow up leads.

"This will require new ways of managing the portfolio of inquiries for the mutual benefit of the City Region," said Coun Whitby.

The City Region partnership is led by a board comprised of the leaders of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Telford and Wrekin, Walsall and Wolverhampton Councils, the chairmen of the West Midlands Regional Assembly, Advantage West Midlands and the Learning and Skills Council. Birmingham property expert Glyn Pitchford represents the business community.