Delivered a speech at the CLES summer school today on the topic of 'Shaping fairer places for the future - laying out the challenges'. The conference opened with Government Minister, Beverley Hughes MP giving the keynote address then the Work Foundation, New Economics Foundation, Professor John Shutt and myself responding.
It's the first time I have been at this event and I was very impressed by the interactive feel to it and the learning and knowledge opportunities created by this approach.
My own contribution focused on how public services and local government can deliver on this agenda. I started by examining what the future may look like in terms of an environment, social, cultural and economic perspective. My observations were based on the 2015 work I was involved in with the Tavistock Institute a couple of years ago. I then made three points I believe are important if we are to progress this agenda, firstly central government infrastructure has to be devolved on a regional basis, secondly on a more local basis local authorities and public services need to be the catalysts and facilitators for fair and equitable distribution of resources and act as the stimulator and driver of local economies, thirdly recognition has to be given to the value public employment brings to local economies.
The feel I get is that CLES is an organisation on the rise and in the current volatile financial times an organisation that really understands local economies is going to be of value to all.