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President update: 17th December 2021

17 December 2021

As we head into the Christmas break, the rapid spread of Omicron leaves many of us with a sense of weary familiarity. Fears of last minute changes to Christmas plans at home and impacts on services at work remind us of how much we continue to live with uncertainty.

But amongst this, I wanted to remind everyone just how hard everyone in the public sector has worked, how much we have done to continue to support our communities and businesses and how successful we have been in keeping things running no matter the challenge. It’s heartening to see this reflected in people’s trust in local authorities. If you need a reminder, have a look at this article from the Public Sector Executive about a recent survey conducted by the Association for Public Service Excellence. It says: “The survey showed that 79% of people were happy with the way their local council’s key workers kept essential services going during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year, with only 12% saying they were dissatisfied.” I think that’s something we should be proud of.

Similarly, a recent webinar, Mood of the Nation, 2021 by Britain Thinks, whose Research Director, Lucy Bush was a contributor at our Autumn Conference, also found that in general, people are far more positive about their local areas than they are about the UK as a whole. The report, webinar and slides are due to be published on their website before Christmas. So, as we revisit our contingency plans (which haven’t yet had the chance to get dusty!) and support our hard working and sometimes exhausted teams, just remember that our residents do trust us and value the work we do.

This month we have published Strategic flood risk assessments – a good practice guide which we have co-authored with the Environment Agency and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. 

As you know, the ADEPT Excellence in Place Leadership Programme is run in partnership with Amey. We are delighted that Amey is sponsoring a third year, and recently welcomed the 2022 cohort. With the first session due to start next month, the latest EiPL blog is from Amey’s Andy Denman, who reflects on how the programme tackles future challenges and opportunities. We are also calling for Expressions of Interest for the Leadership Development Programme. The deadline is Friday 7th January – more information and the EoI form are available on the programme webpage, here

We hosted the Live Labs Expo at the beginning of the month, which was enjoyed by everyone who went. Held at Derby County football ground, we had the chance to find out more about each Live Lab, the technology behind the trials and understand how to deliver an innovation programme at pace while managing a global pandemic! The latest blog gives us a flavour of the Expo, while the first blog this month was from Programme Director, Giles Perkins who describes how highways trials could evolve to support adult social care, the subject of the programme’s fifth white paper. The Expo slide deck is available here.

We are holding a ‘speed management’ workshop on 14 January, with a great line up of speakers including Pauline Reeves from DfT, Phil Jones (who chaired the Welsh 20mph Task Force Group) and Suzy Charman from the Road Safety Foundation. If you’d like to attend, please contact Hannah ([email protected]). In addition, we are holding sessions about the change to the legal status of ADEPT to answer any questions that ADEPT members have. There are two sessions (on Microsoft Teams) Thursday 6th January, 12pm-1pm or Friday 14th January, 2pm-3pm. Register for the session of your choice here.

We have two Lunch and Learn sessions coming up in the new year. Hosted by Costain, the first session on 28thJanuary is about the HyValue clean transport project in South East Wales which is investigating the use of waste gases a source feed to produce green fuel-grade hydrogen (register here). The second session on 25th February will provide an update on sustainable procurement and how it can help local authorities deliver on climate change ambitions (register here). Both sessions run from 12.00 – 12.45.

We will provide more details soon, but I wanted to flag a date for your diaries. The ADEPT Spring Conference and Awards Dinner will be held at County Hall and One Whitehall Place, London, on 26th May. 

As ever, please keep checking our COVID-19 updates page for news, as well as the ADEPT website, where we publish a whole range of updates and documents to support members. 

Stay safe everyone and Merry Christmas! I hope you have a peaceful break and see you in the New Year!