3LE Portfolio 

The 3LE portfolio has evolved significantly over time. Major themes and interventions for each year from 2009 – 2017 are detailed in the hyperlinks below.

What does “Doing interesting, innovative work with stimulating people and institutions” mean in practice? How is it playing out currently and going towards 2020 and beyond?

I try to deploy the tools and techniques of economic and institution development to plan and manage change – strategic and operational; build relationships, profile and reputation; and deliver interventions effectively.  Current themes include:

  • Strategic thinking, strategy formulation and action planning – For local and regional leadership teams, navigating though the complexities and chaos of global and national politics needs to be underpinned by intelligent consideration of strategic choices. turning analyses into well-conceived intervention strategies and action plans. Current work includes:

    • Two ‘2050 Futures’ visioning exercises for quite different non-metropolitan geographies in the South West and East Midlands of England – from defining and agreeing ambitions to turning these into implementation policies and programmes

    • Support for formulation of Local Industrial Strategies with both local government and LEPs in the aftermath of the November Industrial Strategy White Paper

    • A landmark radical reappraisal of the roles and contributions ‘anchor university institutions’ can make to leadership and management of cities and communities

    • Building on the long term strategic planning for the Overseas Territories (OTs) of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) exercise I led in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria to consider how the tools and techniques of crisis management and turnaround might be useful for places in the current tumultuous political, economic and social landscape.

  • Economic leadership, governance and institutional development – Building leadership teams in new devolved structures that can command legitimacy and ‘followership’, attract new powers and resources, deliver change effectively and competently. Recent work includes:

    • Working separately with the two most prominent new Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) to assist in establishing operational structures and processes that can turn Mayoral ambitious into delivery (and deliverable) plans

    • Agreeing ‘devolution agreements’ for candidate MCAs and deals in non-mayoral areas

    • Reviewing LEP, LA and CA relationships and interfaces, including LA-led economic growth and investment delivery companies and arms-length arrangements

    • Considering the business cases for local government reorganisation – especially in terms of economic growth and development;

    • Facilitating and enabling team-building both within and across local authority place-based arrangements

Commentary, conferences and events: I am particularly proud to continue to work as:

  • Visiting Professor of Practice at CURDS, Newcastle University – working in all three thematic areas outlined above – thought leadership, industrial and inclusive growth, institutional strengthening – with a special interest in ‘civic universities’ as part of the 3LE ‘anchor institution revolution’ proposition.

  • The author of a monthly Planning column for Planning/Placemaking

  • An associate of the Local Government Information Unit – producing briefings on many of the topics mentioned above

  • I am a regular speaker, facilitator and participant at conferences, events and workshops – these episodes being integral to the work and most of the projects described above.

Values and world-view

This would not be a 3LE portfolio, though, without relating all my professional practice to the wider political and societal changes driving the breakdown and break-up of the UK. My personal blog provides the outlet for my exasperation with our politics and the non-dom elites that control it, with the rise of fake-truth populism in the UK and globally, and with the seeds of a progressive fightback.

This has, on occasion, cost me clients and revenue – see in particular the ‘Sun and Shadow’ blog in the aftermath of the 2015 General Election. But my work and 3LE will never be solely a purveyor of technocratic, machine consultancy. Nor will I ever articulate in a personal capacity anything that will prevent my total professionalism on formal pieces of work.

If I have any belief in Britain, it is in the energy and dynamism of local places when guided by strong and inclusive leadership equipped with devolved powers and resources. When we work together you will get my passion for and commitment to our shared agendas – a technical rigour, shaped creatively, with political understanding and sensitivity.

3LE Archived Portfolio

Portfolio 2017
Portfolio 2016
Portfolio 2015
Portfolio 2014
Portfolio 2013
Portfolio 2012
Portfolio 2011
Portfolio 2010