Of course, the big news for this blog is ADEPT’s Autumn Conference which I’m pleased to say was a complete success. Those of you who attended will have been rewarded with some fantastic speakers, workshop sessions and opportunities to meet with colleagues and partners from across place. We were treated to topics as diverse as the public’s view of UK politics, the future of transport, AI and behavioural change, as well as the learnings from Covid-19, staff retention, natural capital and security. There was just too much to cover in this update, so Hannah’s provided a handy run through here. We’ve also got the Conference programme and slide decks available on the website.
At this month’s Leadership Team, we welcomed Margaret Read and Jen Coe from the National Infrastructure Commission to introduce the 2nd National Infrastructure Assessment. It was encouraging to find that they agreed with ADEPT’s position both on the problems with competitive bidding in the current climate and the need for national policies to recognise the importance of local context.
I also met with David Hill, DG at Defra. We spoke about the delays to implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain and the waste reforms; the government’s intention to press on with implementing the sustainable drainage elements of the Flood & Water Management Act (Schedule 3 for those familiar with the legislation) and Oflog’s proposed metric on fly tipping. I also met with Emma Ward, DG at DfT where the main topic of conversation was as the Network North announcement, along with highways resilience and our homes to school SEND transport work (more below). As always, it was good to be able to speak directly to senior civil servants about these issues.
News and publications
We have published two major publications this month. The Employee Retention Best Practice Guide was launched at our Autumn Conference. Developed in partnership with Colas, it features case studies and reflections on different approaches from the public, private and community sectors to ensuring our people want to stay with us. We all know local government is facing a crisis in recruitment and retention, so this is the first of three distinct pieces of work in this area we are developing with Colas, find out more here.
As I highlighted in last month’s blog, we have been working with Suzanne Smith from our sister association, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services on Homes2School transport provision (particularly for children with SEND). We have now published a joint policy position and the ADEPT SEND Transport Toolkit.
Highways News’ latest podcast features Proving Services’ Simon Wilson talking about the FHRG, Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions and the Carbon Reporting Guidance for Local Authorities we published last month. You can find the podcast here.
And a quick note that our ever popular Leadership Development Programme is accepting Expressions of Interest for 2024. The deadline is 5th January – more info here.
We have responded to two government consultations on Simpler Recycling, which you can find here: ADEPT response to Consultation on exemptions and statutory guidance for Simpler Recycling in England and ADEPT response to Consultation on additional policies related to Simpler Recycling in England.
Live Labs 2
I hope some of you were able to meet some of our project teams at Conference or Highways UK where Giles, the Programme Director provided an update on progress and our ambitions for the programme. Increasingly we are making more use of ADEPT’s LinkedIn page to provide updates of interest, so please make sure you follow us here.
This month’s Climate Change guest blog comes from Clare Warburton, the Principal Advisor, Green Infrastructure for Natural England, and the National Trust’s Head of Urban Green Space, Ellie Robinson, who talk about the Autumn Conference's urban greening workshop. Read their blog here.
Back to Live Labs 2, and we have an introduction to North Lanarkshire and the Centre of Excellence for Decarbonising Roads they are creating with Transport for West Midlands. The Centre will have two campuses (North and South) and the blog comes from North Campus’ Elaine Nicol, Roads Maintenance Manager at North Lanarkshire Council. Read Elaine’s blog here.
As it’s now the lead up to Christmas, all our usual events are on a break, but please save the date in your diary for the ADEPT Spring Conference and Annual Awards Dinner in London on the 16th May. Details to follow!
Please note, due to planned railway strikes and overtime bans, we have rescheduled our hugely popular Green Finance Training with CIPFA session to 7 March. Find out more here.
Finally, although it seems a bit early, it just remains for me to wish you all a very merry and peaceful Christmas break.
You can find out more about ADEPT’s latest news, publications and the work of our boards and groups on the website: www.adeptnet.org.uk.
Anthony Payne, President of ADEPT.