September update: the local economic development “new year”​


September’s the month when I begin my new company year, when the summer is over and most projects have been finished and put to bed in July and early August. Some of the highlights so far this year have included:

  • Helping Kada Research conduct a housing retrofit study for the Greater London Authority
  • Working with LB Tower Hamlets – on FDI analysis and the local proposition
  • Helping Local London to scope out initial ideas for a subregional transport strategy
  • A review of 8 trailblazer Local Skills Improvement Plans for the British Chambers of Commerce
  • A feasibility study for the UK Atomic Energy Authority
  • Advisory work concerning sector growth for Essex County Council
  • Helping with Levelling Up Fund bids – for Eastbourne and Basildon

So what have I been thinking, and what projects am I starting this month? a few thoughts below.

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New Prime Minister – will there be a change in levelling up and economic policy?

On the one hand, we have a UK Prime Minister and her team who have at times presented themselves as unreconstructed low tax-free market advocates. But on the other hand, the realities of government – and the economy will quickly hit hard, and we have already seen a massive government intervention tabled for domestic energy.

What is clear is that inequalities will only worsen with the current economic situation. Then there is the prospective long-term decline from poor rates of productivity and business investment, as observed by David Smith in the Times recently.

Given that there is, at best, 2 years until another General Election in the UK – this leaves little time to address the levelling-up challenge.  With the Conservative Party well behind in the polls, some grand gestures will be needed as part of the general election campaign…. So expect to see some interesting announcements and budgets for things. As ever, we will be on hand to help our clients respond and take the best advantage of national policy developments for their local economies.

And remember – we’ve authored a number of articles which deal with restructuring and change in economic development organisations:

Restructuring your economic development organisation

Responding to reorganisation: creating the agile economic development community

Local economic strategies: our top 11 tips and ideas

What we’re working on at the moment

The cost of living and energy costs crisis is certainly starting to drive more and more of our consultancy work. We’ve recently been hired to look at the impacts of energy costs and inflation on social and economic inclusion in an area of the UK.

Meanwhile – many clients continue to plan for the climate transition

Another area of consultancy work with a strong order book – is the climate transition. In the past few years, we have done a great deal of work on building retrofit in London. Now we are beginning to see more work exploring and planning for climate change transition in different industries, and analysing and predicting the implications for skills needs and the labour market.

Innovation continues to be a key area of interest

We are currently working on a project exploring the innovation capacity and capability of UK cities. I am struck by the inadequacy of many academic and conceptual models for understanding place-based innovation strengths and pathways. The Innovation Ecosystem approach, to me, seems too static and does not properly incorporate market dynamics or commercial demand. An ‘Invention ecosystem’ seems more appropriate label for many of these published models. For me, successful place-based innovation involves market dynamics, demand, value chains, investment, and entrepreneurship as much as it does research institutions and networks. Certainly, it’s proving an interesting project, and we look forward to reporting and discussing findings.

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What we’d like to do more work on – enterprise support re-engineering

I worked with Mike Spicer earlier in Summer to explore the future of the British Library’s successful BIPC initiative which has established business start-up and advice, and IP and innovation advice in local libraries across the country. I’ve got a real track record in working on the ‘business reengineering’ of business and innovation support, having worked on projects in Wales, London, Teeside and Scotland in the past. I’ve been musing on (yet another) restructuring of local business support in this blog post here. So if you need help with this – get in touch.

The order book is filling up for 2022/23 – get in touch if you want to discuss a project or get advice

Folks – myself and my associates – we are experienced consultants, that get rave reviews from our clients. We’re ‘super consultants’. We do hands-on work with our clients and their stakeholders. We will be all over a project, our appearance won’t be solely restricted to the inception meeting and final presentation (unlike some others!). Between us we’ve probably notched up a century or two of experience. We love challenging assignments too! I’ve done quite a few brain melting projects in 2022 so far, but we get a buzz from the learning experience and satisfaction from finding solutions and movement in what, at first, seemed like an intractable or complex situation. You can read more about our services here.

About Glenn

Glenn runs his own consultancy, Mylocaleconomy. We help local leaders translate their economic ambitions into winning advocacy and solutions that get funded. We work all over the UK – from the Highlands of Scotland to Wales, Bristol, Teeside, North East England, Gloucestershire, London, Cambridgeshire and Sussex.

We love challenging assignments, complex opportunities, and intractable problems. Our vocation is to help city, region and local economies succeed and for prosperity to be sustainable and shared. 

Get in touch via LinkedIn messaging or the contact form on our website.

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