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President update: 10th November

10 November 2020

The election of Joe Biden has come at the end of a tumultuous week for global leaders. Covid numbers are rising across the UK, Europe and US, and in England, we find ourselves in a second national lockdown and diverging ever more from the timings and strategies deployed in the devolved nations. Hopes for breaking the lockdown and lift cycle seem to be firmly pinned on a successful vaccine.

Following on from the last blog, we have now published the ADEPT & EY report Resolute and Resilient - Safeguarding the economy during local lockdownsThe report not only provides valuable data on how local economies are individually impacted by lockdown, but also includes case studies demonstrating how local authorities in the UK, Europe and the US have responded. The report is essential reading for place directors, with plenty of food for thought and action.

We have now submitted the ADEPT response to the Planning White Paper consultation, alongside a response to the HCLG committee inquiry into planning. We all want a planning system that works for our communities and stakeholders, as well as developers, and ADEPT has reiterated its offer to work with the Government to provide the necessary expertise and detail. It was reassuring to hear from Chief Planner, Joanna Averley, speaking at our conference last week, who said that work now was focused on gathering the data, intelligence and views from the consultation responses. She assured delegates that this work will introduce that much needed detail into the Paper.

Speaking of the Autumn conference, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who got involved, our speakers and contributors, for making a very successful virtual conference. With the overarching theme of resilience – across places, infrastructure, people and partners – we heard from a variety of sectors and viewpoints making for an interesting and diverse couple of days. The Question Time session on what makes a resilient economy in the time of COVID-19, was a popular segment and from feedback so far, we could have made the workshops longer! It was inspiring to see how many of you were interested in the findings of the Excellence in Place Leadership programme, with its focus on procurement, green finance, customer-centric service and leadership in a climate emergency. We are taking applications for the second cohort of this fascinating programme, so please contact Hannah Bartram if you are interested in applying.

For me, one of the key takeaways from the conference came from our 2nd speaker, Rohit Talwar. We don’t get to choose our future scenarios, but we can influence and shape them if we open the door and let the future in. The question I asked myself was, do we have time to be nice about that, or should we just be kicking the door down? We must be collaborative and collegiate in these difficult times, there is no room to be competitive and ADEPT, made up of its brilliant members, partners and networks, is the natural rallying point for place, but we must challenge. We must be bolder and braver. Controlling place from Whitehall doesn’t work, and if evidence for that is needed, just look at our report with EY. Our places are unique and place leadership at the local level is key – it’s what truly makes us resilient. All our places are extraordinary, so we must continue to be extraordinary.

And, continuing the theme of letting the future in, the next ADEPT event is the Live Labs Expo on 2nd December. Book your place here and find out all the extraordinary things our Live Labs teams have been up to. While you’re waiting, have a look at the End of Year One Report published last week.

As always, keep watching our COVID-19 updates page for the latest ADEPT news. Stay safe everyone.