President's Update

This blog page will feature regular updates from ADEPT's President, Nigel Riglar.

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President update: 20th January

20 January 2021

A belated Happy New Year!

For many of us, I suspect 2021 couldn’t come fast enough. Although we can be forgiven for the ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling of finding ourselves in another national lockdown, the vaccine rollout shows us that there is an end in sight. I think we all accept that this will take some time and that we will still be working hard to maintain core services, but at least we are no longer wondering whether it will end at all.

With various reports on the timings of vaccinations and a warning that we may need annual vaccinations and restrictions next winter, realistically we need to turn our minds to what living with COVID-19 permanently might mean. It is not going to be as simple as vaccinate everyone and the problem goes away – it is a global pandemic that can throw up different variants and countries have vastly different vaccination rates. 

And that is before we consider the long term implications for our economies and communities, as well as the fundamental problems with the many inequalities in our society that the pandemic has shone a much needed spotlight on. All of these have a huge bearing on how we to shape and manage our places in the coming years.

Right now, though, we are in the middle of a huge crisis. The NHS and our public health colleagues are under immense strain. Amongst our own key services, many members are seeing rising numbers of staff absences due to sickness and self-isolation. Once again, we find ourselves redeploying colleagues and working hard to provide our communities with day to day services. We will do it as we have before, I have no doubt.

As I begin to plan handing over to our next President, Paula Hewitt, in May, I think ADEPT’s priorities will remain firmly focused on how we best support our members. The Sustainable Growth Board will be examining economic growth and recovery – what that might look like for our high streets and town centres, as well as our communities. Decarbonisation and tackling ‘baked in’ climate change, will continue to be a focus across all our workstreams, particularly in the lead up to COP 26 in November. I would encourage you to read and sign up to our Blueprint to support the key role of local authorities in reaching the net zero target. The Local Economic Recovery and Devolution White Paper still appears to be missing in action, but we will continue to advocate for greater local powers and resources to support our places. 

To that end we will continue to work with our fellow professional associations to argue for a bigger piece of the cake for local authorities. Coronavirus has shown how vital our role is in supporting communities and economies, in enabling better health and wellbeing and that we are indispensable both in recovery and addressing climate change at the local level.

ADEPT is your association and we work hard to find new ways to support our members. This year we will be hosting a new stream of webinars as well as our usual conferences, membership programmes and workshops. That includes the Spring Conference and Annual Awards Dinner in London on 27 May. To find out more please keep an eye on the ADEPT website or contact Hannah Bartram

Finally, we are running a new Public Rights of Way survey, and your teams should have had an email. It’s a short survey, but vital to understand the increased pressures facing our teams. If you don’t think you have received the survey, please contact Hannah. We’re also resuming the waste survey, so please look out for an email on this too.

As always, keep watching our COVID-19 updates page for the latest news. Stay safe everyone.

More posts

  • 18 December 2020

    President update: 18th December

    Christmas is going to look very different for most people this year, but even so, it feels something of a relief to be coming to the end of 2020. Although there is plenty of work and more challenges ahead, and it is certainly not a time to be letting our guards down, I think we will all be glad to get this year behind us.

    I think ADEPT members can look back on a year that has been one of the hardest we have known, but also one where we can really say we have stepped up to do what we do best: support and advocate for our places, communities and people.

    Read more >

  • 30 November 2020

    President update: 30th November

    As I write, the Government has announced the local restriction tier system that will replace the national lockdown from December 2nd. With very few exceptions, we will be continuing to live with many restrictions in Tier 2 and Tier 3, which means a continued need to provide meaningful support to our businesses and communities.

    Read more >

  • 10 November 2020

    President update: 10th November

    The election of Joe Biden has come at the end of a tumultuous week for global leaders. Covid numbers are rising across the UK, Europe and US, and in England, we find ourselves in a second national lockdown and diverging ever more from the timings and strategies deployed in the devolved nations. Hopes for breaking the lockdown and lift cycle seem to be firmly pinned on a successful vaccine.

    Read more >

  • 28 October 2020

    President update: 28th October

    I think it’s fair to say that as we look down the barrel of a Covid-19 winter, most of us are concentrating on how to keep our communities safe, our poorest children fed and our businesses, well, in business. It’s been a truly difficult couple of weeks for colleagues up and down the country and we all know it’s not going to get any easier. We also know that we will all continue to work hard to support our communities and places and try to provide the very best public services under continuing exceptional circumstances. 

    Read more >

  • 14 October 2020

    President update: 14th October

    After much trailing in the media, the Prime Minister finally announced the 3 tier system for local lockdowns on Monday. I think it’s fair to say that these haven’t been received with wholehearted endorsement. Local authorities are facing inconsistencies in how these tiers are being applied across the country. There is some debate whether localised lockdowns are even working and re-emergence of conversations about the North-South divide in terms of economic impacts.

    Read more >

  • 29 September 2020

    President update: 29th September

    As rising numbers of COVID-19 cases continue across the country and the difficult situation for many students dominates the news, we are also facing the prospect of greater national restrictions. Parliament is concerned over the lack of scrutiny of emergency powers and there are still issues with the track and trace app. For many of us, it might also feel like Groundhog Day, as we continue to wait to find out about Tranche 2 of Active Travel Funding. 

    Read more >

  • 15 September 2020

    President update: 15th September

    The rising number of coronavirus cases and the R number increasing to between 1 and 1.2 are obviously concerning, particularly in the northern areas of England and the Midlands and have prompted the Government to introduce the new ‘rule of six’ guidance. The Prime Minister’s introduction of Covid Marshalls took many of us by surprise with more details due out this week. One of the most pressing issues for us of course, is how they will be funded.

    Read more >

  • 1 September 2020

    President update: 1st September

    Managing the reopening of schools to all students has provided many challenges, not only for the Government and schools themselves, but also for place directors. We have been working out how we can ensure pupils can travel to and from schools safely using public transport, which has been a massive issue for ADEPT members, and most keenly felt by those outside more urban areas.

    Read more >

  • 31 July 2020

    President update: 31st July

    The news has been concerning this week, with the reintroduction of some lockdown measures across areas in the north of England, as well as the requirement to quarantine for travellers returning from Spain. The measures serve to highlight that coming out of lockdown is not an easy process, and with increases in cases across Europe, a reminder of how connected we are with our friends.

    Read more >

  • 20 July 2020

    President's Update

    Local government yet again finds itself facing an uncertain future with even less certain budgets. There has been much coverage of the Public Accounts Committee report which has outlined risks and issues with increasing commercial investments and borrowing across councils, and how Covid-19 has led to a shortfall in expected income.

    Read more >