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President update 5th January - latest news from ADEPT

Happy New Year!

As promised in my last update, the news roundup covers ADEPT activity from the last couple of months. I hope you had time to recharge your batteries over the Christmas period and are ready for 2023!

Live Labs 2

In early November we announced the Live Labs 2 shortlist going forward to the Dragons’ Den. We were singularly impressed by the innovations and commitment to achieving net zero across local roads evidenced by all the applications we received. The Dragons subsequently made their recommendations to Ministers, and we await their response.

ADEPT working with government

Resulting from our work with our fellow professional associations – ADPH, ADASS, ADCS and the LGA – we published a series of case studies with an overview to support levelling up at a special webinar on 14th December. Find out more here. The associations and LGA also wrote to the DLUHC Secretary of State, Michael Gove, offering to meet with his department to make the case for the role of local authorities in levelling up locally and the imperatives of incorporating social inclusion and the environment.

We also launched our Levelling Up Good Practice Guide. Drawing on content from the 2022 Excellence in Place Leadership programme, the guide includes case studies and key considerations for local authorities. Find out more in the press release.

Over the last couple of months, we have had various meetings with DfT officials.  ADEPT’s Immediate Past President Paula Hewitt and the incoming Chair of the Environment Board, Carolyn McKenzie, met with senior officials at Defra and we have a meeting lined up in the New Year with DLUHC Directors. Meanwhile the subject boards and working groups have continued their regular positive dialogue with government officials.

At recent Leadership Team meetings, we have been pleased to welcome the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) who provided an update on their work across energy, waste, climate resilience, transport and digital. The NIC also presented on their report exploring how to reduce the risk of surface water flooding at the South East Board meeting. As a result, we are actively exploring how we can increase links between our two organisations enabling the NIC to incorporate local authority experience into their thinking.

I want to thank everyone who has responded to our plea for information on what service areas are being discussed with a view to cuts. Unsurprisingly there is very little, if anything, that’s not on the table. The data we have collated is invaluable to us in out work with government departments, and rest assured, we will be using it to send a very clear message that these are very real cuts to services that will impact communities across all constituencies. There are no more efficiencies to make.

Events & other news

The Green Finance Training with CIPFA has had great feedback, so much so that we are in the early stages of planning a future session – 25th April, in case you’re interested. In the meantime, and in response to the feedback. we are also running a follow up session for those who attended in November, showcasing the work of two local authorities.

We have a new ADEPT workshop for senior leaders who are considering stepping down from their role to embark on a new stage in their careers. Navigating Transition will explore five key themes in depth: finance, health & wellbeing, intellectual stimulation, skills & talents and home & family. Facilitated by Roger Paine, a former town planner, local authority chief executive and managing director of SOLACE Enterprises, the half-day session costs £300 +VAT and will be held in Birmingham on 10th March 2023. For more information, please see the workshop programme and email: [email protected]

November’s Lunch and Learn session proved to be very popular with our highways’ members. Hosted by Colas, the session examined the in-situ cold road re-construction and recycling technique that Colas recently delivered for Coventry City Council. The session slides are available here.

The next Lunch & Learn session on 27th January (12:00 – 12:45) is hosted by WDM and explores the role of highway condition data in carbon management. It will examine how existing data streams can improve our understanding of how modern asphalt pavements deteriorate and where to direct resources to minimise the carbon footprint. Places are free to ADEPT members, register here.

There is still just about time to apply for the 2023 cohorts of the ADEPT Leadership Development Programme, run with Solace. The closing date is midnight on Friday 6th January. Find more info on the programme webpage.

Finally, a date for your diary – the Spring Conference is taking place on Thursday 25th May at One Great George Street in London, with the President’s Awards Dinner in the evening at One Whitehall Place. More details soon.


The keynote speaker at our recent Autumn Conference was Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. Her role is to be “the guardian of the interests of future generations in Wales” and is already having an impact on policy and infrastructure development. Her presentation sparked much debate at Conference, so we have covered her session in an additional climate change blog here.

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


Mark Kemp, President of ADEPT

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