ADEPT task force to integrate national recovery plans

21/05/2020
Dominic Browne

Highways understands the Government is establishing a series of national recovery groups covering areas including economy, transport and environment.

Local directors' body ADEPT has also established an 'economic recovery and renewal' task force to help integrate these national efforts at the local level and has set its sights firmly on transformation after the lockdown rather than just a return to normal.

In a statement, ADEPT said: 'We believe these plans need to be joined up and to be more than just recovery; they need to be about place-shaping and renewal while not losing sight of the huge challenges of climate change.

'This is what ADEPT members do - place directors bring all the different elements of making places together in one place (e.g. economy, infrastructure, housing, planning, environment etc.).'

The task force would have a key role in producing policy position statements and guidance for sustainable economic renewal and place-shaping after the coronavirus crisis.

ADEPT said it would help 'encourage greater join-up across government departments, to consider place-shaping and renewal of places/economies as part of COVID-19 recovery planning and national policy'.

The initial membership will be a sub-group of the ADEPT leadership team: Darryl Eyers, Peter Geraghty, Mark Kemp, Adrian Smith, Sue Halliwell, Paula Hewitt, Neil Gibson, Hannah Bartram plus Philip Cox representing our LEP members.

These members are meeting weekly for six weeks in the first phase.

The aims of the task force are to:

  • Ensure economic recovery planning considers the whole place system agenda and goes further than recovery into renewal and transformation of economies and places
  • Shape the national approach to economic recovery to be about wider place-shaping and green economic renewal
  • Provide ADEPT members with the tools, information and guidance (policy/practical) to enable them to deliver broader socio-economic renewal and place-shaping plans in their localities
  • Join up with all aspects of recovery within the public sector (links to ADASS, ADCS, ADPH, LGA, LEP Network, etc.).

The task force will help gather intelligence and evidence on localised economic impacts form COVID-19 to help shape the national recovery.

It would seek to share any best practice with the membership and take a Live Lab demonstrator approach to testing new ways and means of working - a more agile system for testing innovation that trials new ideas and learns from any failure as well as shares any success. 

Areas of focus:

ADEPT outlined a number of issues that need to be considered and developed through the task force including:

  • What are the key principles we need government to consider in the first instance? 
  • How do we make sure climate change (net zero carbon and resilience) and the clean growth agenda are at the heart of our recovery plans?
  • There has been significant behavioural change in the past two months - how do we take advantage of the ‘honeymoon period’ to permanently change behaviours for the better?
  • What does this mean for future infrastructure projects and housing and access to green space?
  • What does home working mean for the future of our places, particularly high streets but also out of town business parks?
  • What is the role of digital infrastructure?
  • How do we reassure the public and help to build confidence that it is safe to go back to town centres and work-places?

ADEPT said this work would require additional resource to drive it forward. We will need to consider reaching out to Corporate Partners and other consultancies to provide free support. Frequency of meetings:

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