In 2022 Shared intelligence was commissioned by the LGA to undertake two separate projects relating to economic development, firstly looking to support Local authorities in integrating Local enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and secondly at reviewing the future role and skills requirement of economic development teams.
Following the announcement in the Levelling Up white paper and subsequent ministerial letter in March 2022 that set out pathways for LEP integration into (mayoral) combined authorities or institutions with devolved powers, the LGA, through Shared Intelligence helped support local authorities to navigate integration. The project focused on capturing the opportunities, challenges and lessons learnt through a series of interviews and workshops with both currently integrating areas as well as accountable authorities to LEPs.
Through identifying the challenges, opportunities, best practice, gaps in skills and the provision of training within economic development, the research produced a report with a set of nine recommendations. These were aimed at economic development services, elected members, and national organisations. Some examples include exploring joint working across neighbouring council ED services, proactive engagement from members to ensure services are fully aligned with the administration’s objectives, and national organisations producing a clear career pathway for new and existing economic development role.
Shared Intelligence was commissioned by Solace, the Local Government Association and the University of Birmingham (INLOGOV) to develop an understanding of how to improve Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the local government workforce. The research focused on upper tier council workforce data, and good practice for improving EDI in relation to ethnicity and race, within councils.
Workforce diversity is fundamental in an organisation which delivers services that meet the needs of the population. A diverse workforce increases the potential for a greater breadth of ideas and processes, a broader range of skills and experiences, and a wider range of perspectives and viewpoints within an organisation. As greater pressures are put on local services and authorities to tackle inequalities and disparities experienced by communities, it has become ever more important to ensure the workforce of local services reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
We completed desk research and data collection on the workforce profile of England’s 152 top tier local authorities to produce a complete data model which we complemented with deep dives to understand the journey taken by five councils. Out of 152 upper tier councils, 86 had published a detailed report on EDI, 54 published basic information on their websites or reports, and 12 had no information available.
This work highlighted the importance of data transparency for making progress on workforce diversity. This work also helped us to develop an understanding of the common best practice. This included having clear governance with demonstrable ownership and leadership, consistent and complete data built from a deep understanding of place demographics and dynamics, and involvement from stakeholders including staff, suppliers and local community leaders.