Successful town centres – developing effective strategies (ATCM Report)

Successful town centres – developing effective strategies
Association of Town & City Management, March 2013

A new report and toolkit designed by the Association of Town & City Management to breathe fresh life into the UK’s town centres and high streets was launched yesterday (20th March) by the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the government’s Retail Pathfinder.

The report, Successful town centres – developing effective strategies, offers a series of easily used tools and ideas that will empower retailers, communities and local planners to help ensure their town centres meet the changing demands of local residents and businesses. Many of the efforts recommended can be undertaken without cost to communities.

Supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the report and toolkit come at a time when the number of empty retail units is still a concern and online purchasing trends continues grow.

The report and toolkit can be used by communities to help them analyse their retail centres and position their destinations as one of four ‘personality’ types: global celebrities; sustainable destinations; specialists and community focused entrepreneurs. This can then be used in conjunction with the report to help retain centres make the most of their ‘personality’ and improve their economic performance.



Best of All Worlds – How hybrid models of public-service delivery can improve citizen outcomes and stimulate growth

Best of All Worlds – How hybrid models of public-service delivery can improve citizen outcomes and stimulate growth
Accenture Institute for High Performance, March 2013

Governments the world over face new fiscal realities that are forcing them to reconsider how they can best deliver public services in the future. The need to make significant cost savings, to do more with less and to tailor traditional service models more closely around the citizen calls for innovative models of provision—no single traditional model of delivery will bridge the gap.

A study of the terrain of public service provision in the United Kingdom reveals the emergence of a new model—that of hybrid organizations that combine elements of the private, public and social sectors. This new class of service delivery model represents an exciting opportunity to combine business innovation and a vibrant social ethos while pursuing public service objectives. In time, businesses and non-profits may also seek to adopt similar hybrid models.

Envisioning the library of the future (Arts Council England)

Envisioning the library of the future
Arts Council England, May 2013

Envisioning the library of the future, a major research project undertaken over the past year, has been published. The research will help library staff, funders and users to better understand what libraries could and should look like in the future.
Valued services: The research has found that public libraries are trusted spaces, open to all, in which people continue to explore and share the joys of reading, information, knowledge and culture. People will continue to value the services that libraries provide in the future.

Challenges ahead: Envisioning the library of the future also indicates public libraries face many challenges in the coming years, including: advances in technology, which affect the ways in which people want to connect to information and culture; reduced public expenditure; the increasing involvement of citizens in the design and delivery of public services; and the needs of an ageing population.

Driving growth through local government investment in the arts (Local Government Association)

Driving growth through local government investment in the arts
Local Government Association (March 2013)

The study, by the Local Government Association (LGA), highlights the many ways town halls are using the arts to bring in money to communities as well as achieving other goals such as creating jobs, filling vacant shops and reducing youth offending.

The arts provide nearly one million jobs and the 67,000 cultural businesses contribute £28 billion every year to the UK economy. It’s estimated that for every £1 spent by councils on the arts, leverage from grant aid and partnership working brings up to £4 in additional funding.

Major beneficiaries are local tourism and hospitality. The visitor economy is this country’s fifth biggest industry and one of the few sectors experiencing growth. It grew at over five times the rate of the UK economy as a whole in 2011, contributing about £115 billion. As well as attracting visitors to places, the arts encourage them to stay longer and spend more. The contribution of music, visual arts and performing arts alone exceeds £4 billion per year.

Despite Government cutting council funding by 33 per cent, many are – for now – actively protecting their arts budgets. This research shows how short-sighted it would be for the Treasury to make further cuts to local government grants, which, given the need to fund growing demands like care of the elderly, would squeeze out any further scope for such protection, and the contribution it makes to economic growth.

The report also details a joint commitment from the LGA and Arts Council England on how they will work with councils to support their efforts in arts and culture, and offers guidance on how to make the most of diminished budgets and best link them to economic aims.


Press release:

Attitudes of Europeans Towards Tourism – Flash Eurobarometer Report (March 2013)

Attitudes of Europeans Towards Tourism – Flash Eurobarometer Report (March 2013)
TNS Political & Social network / European Commission – Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry
March 2013
This Flash Eurobarometer, “Attitudes of Europeans Towards Tourism” (No 370), was conducted at the request of the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry in the 27 Member States of the European Union and seven additional countries: Croatia, Turkey, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Israel. This is the fifth consecutive year that the European Commission has carried out such an extensive survey.
The objectives of the survey were to study:

  • respondents’ motivation for going on holiday in 2012
  • information sources and tools used to research and organise holidays
  • respondents’ travel profile, preferred destinations and holiday types
  • satisfaction with various aspects of holidays in 2012
  • plans for holidays in 2013, including the potential impact of the current economic crisis on those plans

Unfinished Business – A National Parks Strategy for Scotland

Unfinished Business – A National Parks Strategy for Scotland
Scottish Campaign for National Parks & Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, 2013

The report argues that:
• National Parks bring a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits
• There is substantial national public support for National Parks, and local support for designating further National Parks in some parts of Scotland
• There remains a strong case for designating more National Parks in Scotland
• There is scope for improvement in the Scottish Government’s operation of the two existing National Parks and any future ones
• The Scottish Government should therefore prepare and implement a strategy to designate more National Parks in Scotland, including at least one Coastal and Marine National Park
• This strategy should be fully integrated with the National Planning Framework, the sustainable Land Use Strategy and the National Marine Plan

Vibrant and Viable Places – A New Regeneration Framework

Vibrant and Viable Places – A New Regeneration Framework
Welsh Government, March 2013
Vibrant and Viable Places is the Welsh Government’s new regeneration framework.
The Welsh Government’s new regeneration framework, ‘Vibrant and Viable Places’ was launched at the Senedd on 11th March 2013.
The new framework is the result of a review of approaches to regeneration in Wales and further afield that took place during 2012 and extensive consultation with partners from October to January 2013. The Welsh Government’s vision is that everyone in Wales ‘should live in well-connected vibrant, viable and sustainable communities with a strong local economy and good quality of life’. The framework has the backing of the whole Cabinet. It promotes a well-evidenced approach combining support for people and places, and encourages partnership working by the public, private and third sectors.
The framework seeks to get the best out of every pound spent by the Welsh Government in terms of mainstream funding like health and education. In addition, intensive targeted regeneration investment in a small number of key places will be used to support local growth in town centres, coastal communities and Communities First clusters.