President's Update

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

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President update: 17th December 2021

17 December 2021

As we head into the Christmas break, the rapid spread of Omicron leaves many of us with a sense of weary familiarity. Fears of last minute changes to Christmas plans at home and impacts on services at work remind us of how much we continue to live with uncertainty.

But amongst this, I wanted to remind everyone just how hard everyone in the public sector has worked, how much we have done to continue to support our communities and businesses and how successful we have been in keeping things running no matter the challenge. It’s heartening to see this reflected in people’s trust in local authorities. If you need a reminder, have a look at this article from the Public Sector Executive about a recent survey conducted by the Association for Public Service Excellence. It says: “The survey showed that 79% of people were happy with the way their local council’s key workers kept essential services going during the Covid-19 lockdown earlier this year, with only 12% saying they were dissatisfied.” I think that’s something we should be proud of.

Similarly, a recent webinar, Mood of the Nation, 2021 by Britain Thinks, whose Research Director, Lucy Bush was a contributor at our Autumn Conference, also found that in general, people are far more positive about their local areas than they are about the UK as a whole. The report, webinar and slides are due to be published on their website before Christmas. So, as we revisit our contingency plans (which haven’t yet had the chance to get dusty!) and support our hard working and sometimes exhausted teams, just remember that our residents do trust us and value the work we do.

This month we have published Strategic flood risk assessments – a good practice guide which we have co-authored with the Environment Agency and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management. 

As you know, the ADEPT Excellence in Place Leadership Programme is run in partnership with Amey. We are delighted that Amey is sponsoring a third year, and recently welcomed the 2022 cohort. With the first session due to start next month, the latest EiPL blog is from Amey’s Andy Denman, who reflects on how the programme tackles future challenges and opportunities. We are also calling for Expressions of Interest for the Leadership Development Programme. The deadline is Friday 7th January – more information and the EoI form are available on the programme webpage, here

We hosted the Live Labs Expo at the beginning of the month, which was enjoyed by everyone who went. Held at Derby County football ground, we had the chance to find out more about each Live Lab, the technology behind the trials and understand how to deliver an innovation programme at pace while managing a global pandemic! The latest blog gives us a flavour of the Expo, while the first blog this month was from Programme Director, Giles Perkins who describes how highways trials could evolve to support adult social care, the subject of the programme’s fifth white paper. The Expo slide deck is available here.

We are holding a ‘speed management’ workshop on 14 January, with a great line up of speakers including Pauline Reeves from DfT, Phil Jones (who chaired the Welsh 20mph Task Force Group) and Suzy Charman from the Road Safety Foundation. If you’d like to attend, please contact Hannah ([email protected]). In addition, we are holding sessions about the change to the legal status of ADEPT to answer any questions that ADEPT members have. There are two sessions (on Microsoft Teams) Thursday 6th January, 12pm-1pm or Friday 14th January, 2pm-3pm. Register for the session of your choice here.

We have two Lunch and Learn sessions coming up in the new year. Hosted by Costain, the first session on 28thJanuary is about the HyValue clean transport project in South East Wales which is investigating the use of waste gases a source feed to produce green fuel-grade hydrogen (register here). The second session on 25th February will provide an update on sustainable procurement and how it can help local authorities deliver on climate change ambitions (register here). Both sessions run from 12.00 – 12.45.

We will provide more details soon, but I wanted to flag a date for your diaries. The ADEPT Spring Conference and Awards Dinner will be held at County Hall and One Whitehall Place, London, on 26th May. 

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. 

Stay safe everyone and Merry Christmas! I hope you have a peaceful break and see you in the New Year!

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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