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. 


More posts

  • 31 March 2021

    President update: 31st March

    This week we begin our path out of lockdown, with people being able to meet up with other households within existing guidelines. With some welcome sunshine and the clocks going forward, there is a sense of relief in the country, albeit with some wariness about how Europe’s third wave might affect the UK.

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  • 15 March 2021

    President update: 15th March

    The continued roll out of the vaccine and the drop in numbers of infections and deaths due to Covid-19 continues to be good news in what has been a hard start to 2021. The winter lockdown has been difficult for everyone and although it will be good to see restrictions lift, I think we are all mindful of Professor Chris Whitty’s warning and the continued need to support colleagues in public health.

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  • 2 March 2021

    President update: 2nd March

    It has been reassuring to see the Government take a more measured route out of lockdown based on data. Although there is inevitable discussion and disagreement about the approach to schools reopening and concern amongst business and the tourism industry, it is useful to have some degree of certainty on the route forward. All eyes are now on the Budget, where the Chancellor is expected to announce a continuation of support for business, the furlough scheme and other job support schemes, at least in the short term.

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  • 17 February 2021

    President update: 17th February

    The success of the NHS vaccine rollout has been most welcome amidst all the grim news, ongoing restrictions and winter weather. Unfortunately. it has also brought with it increased speculation and leaks to media about how we get out of lockdown and how soon - the kind of mixed messaging that helps no-one. So far, all it seems to be is speculation, and the Prime Minister is certainly indicating that by taking it slowly, this could be our last lockdown.

    Read more >

  • 1 February 2021

    President update: 1st February

    I think I can speak for everyone when I say how the recent news about the UK’s COVID-19 deaths have saddened us all. We have all taken a moment, I am sure, to reflect on the people whose lives have been shortened and families who have been devastated by losing loved ones.

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  • 20 January 2021

    President update: 20th January

    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.

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  • 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.

    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. 

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