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President update 1st March - latest news from ADEPT


A year comes around so fast! No sooner have we started 2024 then the ADEPT Spring Conference and President Awards Dinner comes into view. It’s time to book your place and join us in celebrating our achievements across our places over the past year. The theme for this year’s conference is A good sense of place: creating resilient communities in a time of change and we are, as always, lining up an exciting range of speakers and thought provoking sessions. We have sent out details of how to submit your award entries, but please contact us for further information. 

You can find more information on the draft programme and book your place on the conference webpage.


SEND transport is one of the most urgent funding challenges we face. In response, we published the ADEPT SEND Transport Toolkit in November last year. We are holding a webinar on 6 March to introduce the toolkit, discuss best practice and present some different approaches being used by members across the country. If you’d like to attend, please email Hannah Bartram. In addition, our policy work with ADCS on this topic has resulted in a joint meeting with the Department for Education, where we pushed for a long term solution through future legislation and some short term actions, such as the need for personal transport budgets and co-working with the NHS. We hope for movement on this issue in the Spring Statement.

ADEPT is also providing evidence to DfT for the forthcoming spending review. The Transport and Connectivity Board has been working on this and Chair, Ann Carruthers, has issued a comment on the recent DfT Local Transport Fund announcement. 

I had a helpful catch-up meeting with Sarah Pickup, interim CEO of the Local Government Association, and look forward to meeting new CEO, Joanna Killian, when she starts in March. I have also been enjoying the regular 6-monthly calls with corporate partners.


In the last month, we submitted our response to the Government’s consultation on heat network zoning where we set out the key issues in the consultation for local authorities including ensuring policy, the role and funding of local Zone Coordinators, commercial delivery models and connecting local authority buildings. We will also be responding to the DLUHC consultation on Future Homes Standards.

We have also started posting the first stories from the equality, diversity and inclusion campaign, A Place for All, that we are running in partnership with Colas. I hope you’ll take the time out to read and share each of these personal stories which you can find on ADEPT’s LinkedIn page. They provide a real insight into the experience of each individual, but also the challenges they’ve faced at work and how they have overcome them, changing their workplaces for the better in the process. There is much we can learn and bring to our organisations in every piece.

Live Labs 2

There are still a few places left for the Live Labs 2 Expo. Taking place at Birmingham Conference and Exhibition Centre on 17 April, it is a fantastic 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.


We have two special additional blogs this month inspired by the Autumn Conference session on artificial intelligence (AI). Revolutionising Highways: How AI is Transforming the UK's Transportation Industry has been written by Colas’ Vishnu Kalia and Brave New World - Embracing AI for sustainable and inclusive placemaking is from Rupert Lorraine, Director of The Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth. Both make for fascinating reading.

This month’s Climate Change blog again comes from our very own CEO, Hannah Bartram. In a recent Lunch & Learn, a team from AtkinsRéalis shared their work on Liveable Neighbourhoods and how they have developed a new approach for working with communities. Find out more here.

Back to Live Labs 2, and we have a special blog from Programme Director, Giles Perkins, talking about sustainable infrastructure, carbon focused innovations and the Live Labs 2 programme. Read ‘Unpacking the carbon question’ here.

Neil Gibson Past President of ADEPT and our facilitator for PACE: The Place Leader’s Programme is the author of our latest blog from the thought leadership programme from ADEPT and Amey. In ‘Shaping Tomorrow’ Neil discusses the importance of thought leadership for place. Find out more here.


Continuing on from our special AI blog posts, our next Lunch & Learn hosted by Arcadis will examine Using AI to optimise Transport Plan Delivery Plans on 22 March. Free for ADEPT members, you can register here. Also, for those who missed the last popular session on The Flood and Water Management Act (2010) – Schedule 3 and the Sustainable Drainage Approval Body (SAB), the slide deck is available here.

And a final reminder our next Green Finance Training with CIPFA session will take place on 7th March. There is still a little time left to book. 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:

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