Skip to main content

Latest news & events

President update 8th January - latest news from ADEPT


Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had a good break and are feeling refreshed.

The winter break has given me chance to reflect on the challenges of 2023, but also to recognise what we have all achieved.

Budget pressures have, of course, been front and centre, and local authorities’ biggest headache has been how to meet those exceptional constraints head on. The pressures on people services – particularly adult, children, homelessness and school transport – have been unprecedented with consequences for wider council services, including the delivery of our own place-based responsibilities. There is no escaping the impact on the deliverability of key schemes, compounded by rising costs and inflation – viability is often on a knife edge and many projects are simply unable to proceed, so we need to ensure we celebrate everything we deliver, each success is a substantial achievement.  ADEPT will continue to campaign more funding certainty and support for local authorities through 2024.

Fortunately, amidst these difficulties, there have been some definite positives from government including the longer-term commitment to highways maintenance, some devolution deals that actually devolve funding, the next release of funds through the Levelling Up Fund, and announcements on biodiversity net gain. However, the way government is structured does not readily reflect the cross-department and cross-sector working that place directors deal with on a daily basis.

Addressing the climate challenge appears to remain a verbal priority for the government, but the funding required to address it is limited and piecemeal. Finance needs to switch and consider green investment, but in practice, this is sporadic and pension funds (and others) still invest in long term safe options. We need innovation and creativity to address the big strategic challenges as well as the stability and certainty of long term funding and timescales. To support our place and finance teams we are continuing to build our partnership with CIPFA, including delivering Green Finance Training. The course contents are continually updated so it’s worth considering if your teams need a refresh session or if new members of staff could benefit.

These challenges have a direct impact on the communities we serve and our residents’ quality of life. We need any new government to listen, so for the first time, ADEPT has published a set of Manifesto Asks directed at each of the main parties. We are determined to continue to make the specific case for place through 2024.

We all hope that inflationary pressures will drop in 2024 so that we can see some funding come our way to support regeneration and the delivery of key schemes. Although we understand that government investment is by necessity tight, we need to have that issue of viability addressed as a matter of urgency.

I hope that government will listen and respond positively to consultation feedback they have received through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Plan Making reforms: consultation on implementation. It is a critical opportunity to address the importance of the climate emergency and recognise the role plan-making can play in this. Let’s hope delivery of the outcomes of COP28 offer a real chance for change.

Even without a crystal ball, I have had some thoughts for the year ahead and can let you know a little of what we’ve been planning.

We have embarked on a workforce programme in partnership with Colas, to address some of the challenges we face in staffing and skills shortages, which continue to be a cause for concern. We have already published a great practice guide to staff retention and will start our campaign on equality, diversity and inclusion in February. We also have a Gen Z recruitment campaign project ready to go if we are able to secure the funding.

The Leadership Development Programme continues to be one of our most popular offers and the PACE programme will resume with a new cohort in February. We have a exciting season of Lunch & Learns scheduled and we are planning webinars from Live Labs to share learning, with the first Live Labs 2 Expo to be held in Birmingham on April 17th 2024. It will be a chance to meet the teams as well as suppliers and partners, so make sure you save the date!


It’s become a tradition that our Policy Officer, David Dale provides a roundup of our key climate change work over the past year, so to find out exactly what we’ve been up to and some thoughts for the year ahead, read this month’s Climate Change blog here. We’ve also published a blog from Penny Borton, Jacobs’ Natural Capital Lead who has provided an overview of the Delivering Nature Recovery session from our Autumn conference. Find out more here.

Back to Live Labs 2, and we have an introduction to Transport for West Midlands who are developing the South Campus for the UK’s Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads. This is a partner blog to the last one from North Lanarkshire who are creating the North Campus. Find out more from TfWM here.

The latest blog from our PACE: The Place Leader’s Programme with Amey comes from Andrew Cook, Chair of our East of England Board and the Executive Director of Growth, Highways and Infrastructure at Suffolk County Council. Andrew provides some reflections on the programme so far and of the third session of the programme which has focused on behavioural insight. Read Andrew’s blog here.


Our first Lunch & Learn of the year is hosted by Atkins on the 26th January. It’s a deep dive into Liveable Neighbourhoods and will focus on the challenges and the approach the company has taken to engage with communities. The session is free to ADEPT members, register here.

Our hugely popular Green Finance Training with CIPFA session is now scheduled to take place on 7th March. 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, ADEPT President


Media enquiries: please contact Coast Communications 01579 352600 | VAT number: 337 0556 05 | Website by Cosmic