ADEPT conference makes an autumn statement


The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) annual conference this year takes place a day after the Autumn Statement, giving council directors a first opportunity to analyse and debate the key issues with senior figures in local and central government.

Taking place in Manchester on 24 to 25 November, the conference comes at a crucial time for local government, which will be eagerly watching the chancellor's statement as it draws up budgets for the coming year.

With a focus on devolution, growth, connectivity and resilience, against the background of Brexit uncertainty, the conference promises to highlight key issues facing a rapidly changing sector.

ADEPT president Rupert Clubb

Housing, sustainable economic growth, and better connected and more resilient places will also be on the agenda.

The changing national landscape of place leadership and place services, as well as place transformation, 21st century infrastructure and public sector finances all feature on the programme.

The opening plenary session on ‘Devolution, Devolution, Devolution’ with Martin Reeves of the West Midlands Combined Authority and Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee (invited), comes after a year that saw many deals come to fruition, while others such as Lincolnshire's collapsed.

Secretary of state, Sajid Javid recently had to defend the agenda in front of MPs on the CLG select committee, with Mr Betts himself suggesting the plans for a full retention of business rates by 2020 appear to face the challenge of trying to reconcile different and perhaps opposing agendas.

A second morning plenary session entitled ‘Good, bad, indifferent – where next for devolution?’ will feature Cllr Robert Light of Kirklees Council and deputy chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) Cities Board and Liam Booth-Smith, chief executive of think tank Localis.

On the afternoon of the first day, a plenary session on ‘Natural opportunities for growth’ will examine environmental issues, with speakers from the Infrastructure Operators’ Adaptation Forum, Wessex Water and the NHS England Sustainable Development Unit.

A fourth plenary session will look at ‘Continuing the Transformation as Place Shapers’.

On the morning of the second day, sessions will address ‘21st Century infrastructure: are we ready?’ and ‘Public Sector Finance – how are we going to pay for it all?’, featuring LGA chief executive Mark Lloyd and LSE London Tony Travers, director (invited).

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