President's Update

This blog page features updates from ADEPT's President, Paula Hewitt.

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President update: 15th September 2021

15 September 2021

As I write, the government has just published its Covid-19 response plan for the autumn and winter. Plan A focuses on encouraging further vaccine take up and booster doses for priority groups 1-9, introducing vaccines for 12-15 year olds and a renewed emphasis on test and trace and self-isolation for those testing positive. Plan B leaves the way open to a return to mask wearing in enclosed spaces, working from home and vaccine passports for larger gatherings should there be a surge in cases and increased pressure on the NHS. There are also plans in development for new foreign travel guidance to be published before the end of September. 

We can note that the expectation remains that local authorities will be “leading the response in their communities”. The Coronavirus Act regulations on self-isolation, enabling local authorities to respond to “serious and imminent public health threats” and the testing and quarantine requirements for UK arrivals will remain in place. However, many other powers will expire. For more information, please review the Covid-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan.

I had productive meetings with Emran Mian at MHCLG, where we talked about levelling up, Shared Prosperity Fund and County Deals, and with Ben Rimmington at BEIS, where we discussed the challenges in delivering net zero. Hannah and I also met with Deborah Sims, the new President of CIHT and talked about the potential for collaboration across many areas, including climate change and Live Labs. Carolyn McKenzie, the Chair of ADEPT’s Energy and Clean Growth Group gave verbal evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee inquiry, Mapping the Path to Net Zero. You can watch Carolyn in action here

Many of the regional and subject boards met last week too – at one point there were three concurrent board meetings – and it’s great to see the levels of interest in these boards. If you’d like to get involved but are not sure where to start – the board structure chart is here.

Phil Swann from Shared Intelligence has been conducting interviews with many of you, as well as with ADEPT partners, stakeholders and members of the civil service as part of their review into our Association and its influence. Interviews are still ongoing, but I’m extremely pleased to say that the initial findings are truly positive, both on the benefits of being an ADEPT member and the increasing influence and profile we have across our key sectors and Whitehall. We are expecting the report to be finalised by mid-October.

We are continuing to work on the skills agenda, with the current focus beginning to develop into two distinct areas – the next generation of place directors, and the skills shortage more generally. I was particularly struck by a conversation on reshaping our delivery models to include specialist ‘finishers’ alongside developing our people with essential broad-based skills.

ADEPT will be holding another of our successful ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions on the 24th September, hosted by WSP. ‘Implications of the Government's Transport Decarbonisation Plan: A catalyst for change or a missed opportunity?’ will run from 12-12.45 and promises to be a fascinating discussion. Register here.

The 2021 National Traffic Managers Conference, which will be held at the Leicester Tigers’ Welford Road stadium on 13th October, is open for registration. Topics to be covered include street safety and the Clean Air Strategy, planning for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and a panel debate on road space. Find out more here and book your place here

Booking is also open for the ADEPT Autumn Conference, 18 – 19 November, which will be held once again at the Apex Hotel in Bath. It will be a great opportunity to meet in person, so have a look at the draft programme for Climate, Recovery and Renewal - looking ahead to a decade of action, and book your place here. Looking forward, the final Live Labs Expo, where we celebrate the success, collaboration and learning from this transformational programme will be held on 1st December at Derby County Football Club. Details to follow.

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. 


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    President update: 31st August 2021

    I hope you’ve all managed to get a good break over the last few weeks. With September here and schools about to return, it feels like we’re about to face many familiar pressures over the autumn. Although case numbers are rising, we are fortunate that the vaccinations are doing their job and we’re not seeing a parallel rise in hospitalisations or deaths. However, in many areas, we are seeing numbers that are putting additional pressures on the NHS and colleagues across public health, adult and children’s services.

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  • 3 August 2021

    President update: 3rd August 2021

    The summer holidays are here and I hope many of you will be taking a well-deserved break. Unfortunately, for local authorities, there is no break from the continuing impacts of Covid, with many services severely affected by the self-isolation ‘pingdemic’.

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  • 15 July 2021

    President update: 15th July

    At the recent Leadership Team meeting, we welcomed Tom Walker from the Levelling Up Unit, which is tasked with bringing forward the Levelling up White Paper currently scheduled for the autumn. It was helpful to know that government understands the agenda to be broader than economic growth and big infrastructure, with health and education emphasised as well. There was also recognition of net zero and how the workplace might look post-Covid.  

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  • 21 June 2021

    President update: 21st June

    It’s certainly a really busy start to summer for ADEPT. One of my first events as ADEPT President was chairing a Building Back Better session at last week’s Traffex conference. Immediate Past President, Nigel Riglar, spoke at the Perspectives on the Climate Change Challenge session at the LGC Climate Change conference, also last week.

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  • 1 June 2021

    President update: 1st June - new President, Paula Hewitt

    Can I start by saying what a huge honour and privilege it is to be the new president of ADEPT. When I started thinking about my year as President, I little thought how quickly it would come upon me, or that we would still be holding our conferences virtually. As I took part in our online AGM it made me realise how much better we have got at using the technology over the last year, with raising hands, emojis in the chat and virtual hand clapping all playing a part.  

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  • 26 May 2021

    President update: 26th May

    With our Spring Seminar and AGM on Thursday, I’ve come to my final week as ADEPT President. What a strange year it has been. Apart from travelling to the Bristol Bath Railway Path to be interviewed for Countryfile about sustainable travel, my whole presidency has been done from my house. That makes me the lowest carbon president ever – which seems appropriate in a year that will end with COP26.

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  • 13 May 2021

    President update: 13th May

    Following last week’s local elections, many of us will be preparing to welcome new Mayors and councillors and looking ahead to the policy changes that a change of political leadership often brings. These are always challenging times for officers, where we aim to ensure our politicians are fully briefed and prepared for the challenging decisions that lie ahead. 

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  • 30 April 2021

    President update: 30th April

    As lockdown restrictions are eased, we are beginning to see the impacts reflected through our places. We have had reports of traffic increases of 10 % in the last week and there are varied reports from our high streets, with some market towns reporting benefits from people not having to commute. It’s going to be interesting to see whether some of the environmental benefits of less traffic on our roads and people shopping locally can remain after lockdown ends.

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  • 14 April 2021

    President update - 14th April

    Welcome back from the Easter break everyone, I hope you have all managed to enjoy some well needed time off.

    I wanted to start this blog by taking a brief moment to acknowledge Prince Philip’s passing and his many long years of service. On behalf of ADEPT, I would like to offer our deepest condolences to the Queen and the Royal Family.

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