Draft Coventry and Warwickshire local economic assessment for consultation

Coventry Millennium Place people's bench

Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council have carried out a sub-regional economic assessment. The draft economic assessment is now available and comments are invited.

The economic assessment and feedback form are available on the Warwickshire County Council website. There are also supporting papers on innovation, future sectoral growth, functional economic geography and business starts and growth.

Centre for Cities update annual index of UK cities

Cover of Cities Outlook 2011 by Centre for Cities

The Centre for Cities have published Cities Outlook 2011 (pdf, 2.4mb), identifying the UK cities best placed for a private sector-led recovery.

According to the report, five cities to watch are Milton Keynes, Reading, Aberdeen, Leeds and Bristol. These cities have high potential to create private sector jobs and are less vulnerable to public sector job losses and spending cuts.

The report identifies five vulnerable cities that may not gain the benefits of national economic recovery for some time: Sunderland, Liverpool, Birkenhead, Swansea and Newport.

Performance of large cities, including Birmingham, will remain crucial in providing private sector jobs.

Related links

New issue of Local Government Association analysis and research bulletin

Local Government AssocationThe December 2010 issue of the Local Government Association’s analysis and research bulletin (pdf, 328kb) is now available.

The bulletin highlights new research and statistics on:

  • Employment, pay and workforce trends
  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Education and children’s services
  • Environment
  • Health and social care
  • Local government
  • Europe
  • Population and migration
  • Culture, tourism and sport
  • Crime and disorder
  • Communities and place shaping

The current and previous issues are available on the Local Government Association’s website.

Sandwell Trends local information system

Research SandwellSandwell Trends is a local information system providing data, intelligence and analysis about the people and places in Sandwell.

The website, produced by Research Sandwell, provides:

  • A data warehouse which stores detailed data that you can interrogate.
  • Mapping and charting tools.
  • Topic pages on specific data topics.
  • Briefings on various topics, including research methodology.
  • Tools to compares with each other.

Sandwell Trends home page

Home page: www.sandwelltrends.info

Sandwell Trends Place Survey analysis

Place Survey themed page

Office for National Statistics West Midlands newsletter September-October 2010

Office for National StatisticsThis is the last newsletter from ONS West Midlands – the regional statistician service ceased in the West Midlands as of 21 October 2010.

The newsletter contains information on statistical consultations together with recent and planned ONS publications that might be of interest to you.

Continue reading

New Fit for the Future articles published: what’s your vision of a low carbon future?

Fit for the Future: what's your vision of a low carbon future? Join in the debate.

We’ve launched a new website as part of our Fit for the Future project. Earlier this year we asked:

In your view, what would a successful low carbon economy look like and how should the West Midlands transform its economy to meet that vision?

The new website presents five articles given in response, written by contributors working in manufacturing, local government, education, public and voluntary sectors.

We want the articles to stimulate a debate so, this year, we decided to present the articles in an online commentable form. Please do visit the website, have a read and add your comments to the articles.

Continue reading

Local impact of public sector job cuts featured on BBC Politics Show

Andy Phillips interviewed for BBC Politics Show

In advance of the government’s spending review announcement on Wednesday 20 October, the BBC Politics Show West Midlands discussed the impact of public sector job losses in the West Midlands.

They interviewed Andy Phillips, Head of Skills Research at the Observatory, and featured our recent briefing paper which examines the local impact of public sector job cuts (pdf, 351kb).

The story is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer for the next six days.

Hyperlocal Govcamp West Midlands

Hyperlocal Govcamp West Midlands is an unconference for local government with an added hyperlocal flavour, taking place in Walsall on 6 October 2010.

The background to the event is ongoing innovation in public sector digital communications through means such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. This event is a chance to listen, learn, exchange ideas, talk and contribute to sessions on best practice.

It’s also a chance to learn more about the rapidly emerging field of open data from the perspective of local government officers and web developers.

An unconference is an event where the agenda is developed collaboratively before the event and on the day itself. Attendees take part in deciding what the event will cover and can run sessions themselves.

The event is open for people across the public sector as well as web developers and hyperlocal bloggers.

Related links

Local enterprise partnership proposals announced

56 proposals for local enterprise partnerships across the country have been submitted, the government has confirmed, following the closing day for submissions.

There are seven proposals from the West Midlands:

Three distinct responses in respect to cross boundary working arrangements have also been received from Peak District, South East England and West Leicestershire and Northern Warwickshire.

Here’s the full list of proposals.

West Midlands monthly economic update report August 2010

The August 2010 economic update report (pdf, 482kb) from Advantage West Midlands is now available.

The report includes headlines and statistics, both national and from the West Midlands, on the state of the economy, inflation, the labour market, house prices, manufacturing, automotive, services sectors, construction, and retail.

The updates are published monthly here.

Unemployment in West Midlands fallen but still not back to pre-recession levels

Updated monthly data on the West Midlands labour market were released today by the Office for National Statistics.

Key headlines

  • Unemployment in the West Midlands has fallen — by 66,000 people over the last year, and 27,000 people in the last quarter. There are, however, 59,000 more unemployed people in the West Midlands than in February 2008.
  • Unemployment has fallen faster in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the country over the last year and in the last quarter. However, unemployment rose more sharply here than elsewhere earlier in the recession, so essentially this is a rebalancing of employment levels.
  • We’re not out of the woods yet. Employment levels have not yet reached their pre-​recession levels, and we’re expecting a significant loss of public sector jobs in the coming months, which could wipe out the recent drop in unemployment altogether.

Related links

Place Survey abolished

The Place Survey, one of the largest surveys in Europe that was due to be conducted by local authorities this autumn, was formally abolished yesterday by Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps.

This follows on from the scrapping of Comprehensive Area Assessments by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles in June 2010.

Read the announcement on Communities and Local Government.

Oracle summer 2010 newsletter out now

Read our Oracle summer 2010 newsletter (pdf, 404kb)The summer edition of our Oracle newsletter (pdf, 404kb) is now available, rounding up our recent research.

Rosie Paskins, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Regional Observatory, introduces the newsletter with updates on how our research is being used and how we’re working hard to ensure local authorities, businesses and forthcoming Local Enterprise Partnerships can access and benefit from our research:

In what has been an interesting but rather unsettling few months for all those working in the public sector, the Observatory has continued to provide West Midlands decision makers with solid and reliable evidence on which they can base their decisions.

This summary of our work over the course of 2009-10 (pdf, 750kb) shows the many different ways in which Observatory research is being used.

Despite turbulence in local and regional government, the social and economic challenges facing the West Midlands remain. The Observatory continues to provide high quality research into the underlying causes of those challenges. In a recent survey of our users, partners told us that their satisfaction with the Observatory and its work is at a five year high, with nine out of ten users rating our research as independent and objective.

At present, we are working hard to ensure that local authorities, businesses and forthcoming Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are able to access our research and benefit from it. LEPs will almost certainly inherit new responsibilities around economic development, worklessness, skills and low carbon. The Observatory has a wealth of expertise in each of those areas, and we are used to working across local authority boundaries. So in a world of Local Enterprise Partnerships, we can provide important insight and an objective assessment of the facts, to help decision makers take tough policy decisions with confidence.

I hope you enjoy reading about our recent research. As ever, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Rosie Paskins
Chief Executive

Related links

NESTA offering local authorities £30k to spend with digital businesses on open data projects

Cutout figures connected by green light

Brian MacAulay, Director Innovation Index at NESTA, mentioned the Make It Local initiative to encourage collaboration between local authorities and digital media developers. It’s timely in the light of our open data: challenges and opportunities event last week and the government’s consultation on underlying data publication announced today.

Make It Local, the NESTA initiative, aims to:

…encourage collaboration between local authorities and digital media developers, to provide innovative, web-based services for their communities.

Make it Local is encouraging local authorities to release publicly-owned data in a linked way which allows developers an opportunity to build new services using the information.

Local authorities hold significant amounts of public data– such as transport, carbon emissions, population and crime data – which may help to power a range of useful, digital services. In developing partnerships between local authorities and digital media businesses, NESTA wants to show the value to local authorities of releasing their data to developers who can make use of it.

NESTA is calling for digital agencies with ideas for new applications to approach their local authority and encourage them to enter.

NESTA is offering three local authorities up to £30,000 to spend with a digital media business in their area.

The criteria for applications, application process and application form are available on the NESTA website.

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