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President update: 13th May

Following last week’s local elections, many of us will be preparing to welcome new Mayors and councillors and looking ahead to the policy changes that a change of political leadership often brings. These are always challenging times for officers, where we aim to ensure our politicians are fully briefed and prepared for the challenging decisions that lie ahead. 

Nationally, we have just had the Queen’s Speech and the State Opening of Parliament. Of key interest to ADEPT members will be the contents of the Planning Bill and what, if any, changes to the zoning system outlined in the White Paper might mean. The replacement guidelines for State Aid will be set out in the Subsidy Control Bill, and we will be keeping an eye on the Procurement Bill for any implications for local government. There was a lot in this speech, with a Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill to extend 5G mobile coverage amongst other things, a Building Safety Bill and of course the Environment Bill will get another run. Also noteworthy is the Bill to remove five year fixed term governments and a return to the Prime Minister having the power to call early elections.

We have just published our latest Policy Challenge Paper, a response to the Government’s review of local enterprise partnerships. Many LEPs are ADEPT members, and we support the evolution of LEPs. We acknowledge that there are areas such as accountability, transparency and representation, where improvements can be made, but above all, we would like to see an increase in LEPs working in cross-sector partnerships and engaging with stakeholders at the sub- regional level to truly deliver for place. Click on the link for the Policy Challenge Paper - LEPs Review. We would welcome your comments – please do send them to Hannah ([email protected]).

ADEPT has submitted a response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee’s inquiry, Local government and the path to net zero. Read our submission here. We’ve also been invited to give verbal evidence to the EFRA Committee inquiry into Tree Planting & Woodlands. 

The Excellence in Place Leadership programme is continuing with the second cohort. We have had sessions on The Future of Place and Green Recovery. Building on this second session, Carolyn McKenzie will be leading on work with Natural England around financing, raising profile and data insights. For the third session we will have a focus on skills which will be used to complement the work ADEPT is doing on building skills for innovation in place. Keep an eye on the EiPL webpages for session documents and blogs.

With the success of the Live Labs programme, which is due to complete in November, ADEPT has been putting together a proposal for Live Labs 2, with the working title ‘Bringing the decarbonisation of local and regional roads to reality’. DfT has indicated they would like to explore the potential for a UK wide programme, and we have been discussing this with our associate organisations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the meantime, we continue to promote the excellent Live Labs 1 programme, with forthcoming webinars planned for CCS Wales and DfT. 

Next month, both ADEPT and Live Labs will have sessions at this year’s online Traffex conference 15-17 June. Incoming ADEPT President Paula Hewitt (who will take over as ADEPT President on 27th May) will be chairing a session on Building Back Better and Giles Perkins will be leading a session on Live Labs.

There is still time to book your place on our Spring Seminar on 27th May. With an exciting line up planned, Reimagining places: a focus on town centres & high streets promises to be an interesting and thought provoking event – with popcorn! The Seminar and the ADEPT President’s Awards are both virtual this year so make sure you’re booked in. 

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

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