On Tuesday 20 September 2022 we hosted a hybrid event titled ‘Property, Pensions, Procurement: are councils making the most of their community’s assets?’.
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The event took place at The Gallery, Alan Baxter Ltd and it ran from 10:00-11:00. A small invite-only audience joined us in-person and we livestreamed the conversation.
Catch up on the discussion here:
We discussed how local authorities can use their community’s property, pensions and procurement to improve the local economy while also involving local people in decision making. We also explored the challenges and opportunities of adapting these approaches – often called ‘community wealth building’ – to London.
Some of the discussion points included:
- How to get local people involved in local governance
- How can we define, monitor and deliver social value
- The best way to use pensions and other financial assets to benefit residents
- How to partner and share best practice across boroughs
The research and what we know so far…
Over the last decade, policymakers and activists have become increasingly interested in community wealth and asset approaches. These approaches use local economic decisions to bring about social value, or outcomes that improve economic, social, or environmental wellbeing in addition to the day-to-day services provided by councils.
As part of these approaches, ‘anchor institutions’, like hospitals, and universities, are encouraged to spend their money locally, hire locally, and use their property and financial resources to drive sustainable development. We’re also interested in how local authorities can more meaningfully involve local people in these decisions, to ensure that they reflect the wants and needs of the community.
Many of the well-known cases of community wealth and asset approaches have been in deindustrialised areas, like Preston, and Cleveland, in the US. However, there is now widespread interest across the political spectrum in adapting elements of these approaches to London’s unique context.
In London, governing authorities and large local employers sit closely alongside one another and, in many cases, have overlapping boundaries, posing challenges and opportunities for how local authorities get the most out of their assets.
Michael Blake, Head of Social Investment, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Natan Doron, Mayoral Head of Policy, Greater London Authority
Antonia Jennings, Associate Director, CLES
Shadi Brazell, Programme Manager, Place-based Impact Investment, Impact Investing Institute
Jon Tabbush, Senior Researcher, Centre for London