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President update 1st February - latest news from ADEPT


It’s hard to believe we are already in February, but 2024 is proving to be fast moving. News that there might be some respite for local government in the Local Finance Settlement is encouraging, but we all know that the pressures remain significant and annual one offs are not the solution to the broader financial challenges facing the sector.  


This month see the launch of our equality, diversity and inclusion campaign created in partnership with Colas. We have a huge challenge in recruitment and retention in local government so it makes sense to ensure we are able to attract people from right across our communities. We need to shout about what’s great about working with us and bring in people who might not have considered a career in place before, ensuring they can contribute and have a voice. But first we have to start with ourselves, so we’re taking a different approach and will be sharing personal stories on our LinkedIn page from February, timed with LGBT+ history month. The individual stories come from people working in local authorities and for Colas, who have been delivering on their diversity strategy for some time. I encourage you to read each one.

Also on recruitment, the Leadership Team welcomed Tile Hill, the executive recruitment service, to a recent meeting. Among the many challenges we face, it was good to hear that people are moving from the private to the public sector, but it’s becoming apparent that house prices are affecting people’s ability to relocate for a new appointment. This means it’s even more important to invest in retaining and developing our people so, I’m delighted to say that the response to our place-focused Leadership Development programme has, once again, led to it being oversubscribed. To further strengthen the talent pathway for place, we have also begun talking to Solace about running a new leadership pathways programme aimed at people currently working below Head of Service level. Watch this space!

I chaired a useful meeting of the Presidents of ADCS, ADASS, ADPH and the LGA. We have agreed to look at how we collaborate on issues such as our response to the Spring Budget to strengthen our message to government on local government funding.


In January, we published our response to the LGA’s call for evidence for its White Paper on local government. We set out the importance of place, and reiterated our priorities outlined in our Strategic Plan: Placing Communities First, and our asks of a future government in Manifesto for Stronger Places. We are pleased to be able to contribute to this and help shape the LGA’s position.

Live Labs 2

The big news from Live Labs 2 this month is that our first Live Labs 2 Expo will take place on 17th April at Birmingham Conference and Exhibition Centre. Please spread the news – as well as showcasing each Live Lab, there will be the opportunity to meet the teams, partners, SMEs and academics involved in each trial. We will also have stands and presentations from across the programme. Find out more at the Live Labs 2 Expo website.


This month’s Climate Change blog comes from our very own CEO, Hannah Bartram. The Climate Change Board recently welcomed Sophie Kempthorne, Innovation Lead – Place-based Finance for Net Zero at UKRI/Innovate UK. Sophie’s wide ranging and information packed presentation looked at a recent Innovate UK/PwC report into the private capital required for local net zero projects and how to unlock and accelerate it. Find out more here.

Back to Live Labs 2, and we have an introduction to the Liverpool project who are trialling a full lifecycle approach to decarbonisation in Liverpool’s complex city environment. Find out more from Liverpool here.

The latest blog from our PACE: The Place Leader’s Programme with Amey is a Q&A with the Joint Chair of ADEPT’s South East England Board, Katie Stewart. We asked Katie for her thoughts on PACE thought Leadership and the benefits for place directors of using behavioural insights. Find out more here.


Our next Lunch & Learn on 16th February is hosted by WSP. Last month, Defra announced it intends to implement Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which will lead to the creation of Sustainable Drainage Approval Bodies (SAB) within Lead Local Flood Authorities. With the consultation imminent, WSP will be sharing its approach in supporting local authorities prepare for SABs. The session is free to ADEPT members, you can register here.

Our next Green Finance Training with CIPFA session is now scheduled to take place on 7th March. It is hugely popular and we’ve only a couple of spaces left. Find out more here.

You can find out more about ADEPT’s latest news, publications and the work of our boards and groups on the website:


Anthony Payne, President of ADEPT

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