How can councils work with universities?

  • Tensions between basic policy priorities — eg economy v health and the need to ensure research work aligns with policy needs
  • Need for greater awareness within councils of what mean by research and evidence — eg data, lived experience
  • Status of analysts in local authorities — potential budget cuts and reduced staff
  • Lack of ability to iterate ideas — focus on the drive to implementation but less capacity to be agile, iterative, and adjust
  • Doing things as we’ve always done them and perception that we can’t afford something new
  • Capacity for engagement can be problematic — hard to sustain without immediate or apparent values
  • Covid has made people more comfortable working at pace and iterating but I worry that once the necessity given by the pandemic is gone we’ll be back to the same
  • Understand specific groups impacted by the pandemic
  • Survival… then cv19 response, recovery, child-friendly district, education and skills, regeneration and infrastructure, climate action
  • How can we balance the economic arguments with academic evidence e.g. homes are no longer fit for purpose and are compromising residents' life chances & quality of life
  • Modelling future of town & city centres: 15 minutes cities? how might these develop in the context of Covid recovery?
  • City and town centres — inter-influences of organisations’ and residents’ behaviour. Economic, social and psychological impact. What qualitative research exists?
  • Covid provides an opportunity to do things differently — but how to sustain it?
  • Increase the status of preventative policy and address root causes
  • Re-imagine the ‘policy life cycle’ — so thinking about implementation and impact on people and how that can feedback to inform further development and iteration
  • Testing & experimenting with policies
  • Use of randomised controlled trials
  • Need to build consensus on what projects we want to work on together
  • Raise awareness of the different research methods
  • How academic expertise fits within the ‘jigsaw’ of interrelated policy challenges — and how to bring in people affected by policy
  • Universities can give people the skills needed — these are a broad range of skills
  • Embed the UN SDGs into core curriculum programming and then seek out projects with local partners to support delivering on the global goals
  • Students as designers of practical innovations that residents can use to repair, remake or re-use disused products



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store



Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese