President's Update

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

Latest post

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

  • 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 >

  • 8 July 2020

    President update: 8th July

    It was interesting to listen to the chancellor’s summer statement, which outlined some important new investment that will have an impact on clean and green growth. The investment into infrastructure, the £3bn green jobs plan and the £2bn Green Homes Grant, will all help to drive a green recovery. In particular, retrofitting homes is vital for communities and the wider built environment – it not only reduces carbon emissions, it also builds resilience to future climate change, reduces fuel poverty and improves health.

    Read more >

  • 1 July 2020

    President update: 1st July

    The Prime Minister’s much trailed announcement of a New Deal wasn’t the once-in-a-generation, green and clean recovery many had hoped for. Some of the funding had been announced before, just with a speeding up of delivery timescales, but investment in broadband and cycleways is welcome. ADEPT would like to see more ambitious thinking from government.

    Read more >

  • 24 June 2020

    President update: 24th June

    As the Government opens up the economy further and reduces the 2m rule to ‘1m plus’, local high streets begin to see a welcome influx of visitors becoming more confident in returning to town centres, and a slow shift into a more normal life.

    Read more >

  • 17 June 2020

    President update: 17th June

    This week marks the beginning of a significant time for our high streets with many shops allowed to reopen, but with strict social distancing in place. We will be watching closely how the public reacts over the coming weeks to get an idea of how safe our communities feel about returning to the shops. It’s a major concern for all place directors who need to ensure their communities feel confident and that their local economies can restart. For retail businesses, it is also a critical point as they work out how they can continue to operate with a reduced footfall. 

    Read more >