Clients with a spatial development remit – whether local authorities, Mayoral Combined Authorities, city-region partnerships, devolved administrations or (in England) local enterprise partnerships – are a major focus for our research, policy analysis and feasibility and impact assessment studies.

What makes for sustainable and inclusive growth at a local level? What helps clusters to thrive or stall over time?  How does the performance of cities – and city-regions – differ from that of towns and rural areas?  What are the implications of ‘anywhere jobs’ for local economies in post-pandemic Britain?  What factors reinforce strongly performing places, and which lead to decline?  How does the functioning of particular local economies link to wider priorities linked to levelling up?

In response to questions like these, key themes have long been the linkages between economic conditions, infrastructure, land, key businesses and education and research institutions, employment and workforce engagement. These "factors" are not new, but relationships between them are evolving very quickly.  Digital technologies have changed the suite of local possibilities; boundaries between ‘home’ and ‘work’ are increasingly blurred with implications for how places function; culture and creativity are increasingly central to both place-making and socio-economic well-being at a local level; and local responses to the imperatives surrounding Net Zero are increasingly an overarching policy priority.

Local economies are constantly changing as relationships to "place" become both deeper and more variable, not least as international linkages also evolve.

Add to this the critical debates about devolution, place leadership, governance, accountability and decision-making and the challenges – and responsibilities – linked to intervening well at a local level multiply further.

We work very closely with local partners and stakeholders to help to decide "how to intervene well".  We conduct incisive but accessible research to provide critical insights as to how local economies function, and we work closely with our clients to think through effective policy responses.  We draft strategies and action plans; we prepare funding bids; and we both develop and appraise business cases.  Throughout, we seek to build capacity and confidence – leaving our clients with far more than a consultancy report.