New plan to harness £16 billion public spending for local benefit

A new plan that could help local people benefit from £16 billion of government spending in the West Midlands was launched by Regional Minister, Ian Austin, this week.

And he said government spending would be used to boost employment for people in the West Midlands and help access “local jobs for local people.”

The new West Midlands Procurement Framework for jobs and skills has been developed by the West Midlands Economic Inclusion Panel. This brings leaders from across the public, private and third sectors together to find ways to tackle the £3bn output gap ascribed to worklessness in the West Midlands.

Set up in 2008 to address the region’s worklessness challenge, the Economic Inclusion Panel  has focussed on developing a strategic approach to public procurement as a key driver in tackling worklessness. The Observatory’s economic inclusion team works closely with the Panel to provide evidence of the challenges facing the region.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Future of the West Midlands

The future of the West Midlands reportAt the end of January, I attended and spoke at an interesting event to launch a new report The Future of the West Midlands (pdf, 361kb).

The Smith Institute, an independent social and economic research think tank based in London, organised the event.

The report aims to raise the level of debate about the future of the West Midlands and highlight what policy changes are needed to make a real and lasting difference to the region.

With the forthcoming reforms to regional and local government through the sub national review, this debate is very timely and gains an added significance.

Continue reading

Issues for the Observatory to take forward…

The Oracle newsletterThe quarter four 2008 (PDF, 685KB) edition of the Observatory’s new-look The Oracle newsletter, is now available.

This edition reviews our 2008 annual conference, “Better Evidence, Better Policy” with reports on all of the talks and workshops from the day, as well as the main issues that we will be taking forward in 2009.

Podcasts of the day are still available (view in iTunes or another RSS reader).

We welcome your comments on the issues that we’re planning to progress from the day.

Continue reading

Heart of enterprise: West Midlands feature in the Guardian

guardian200812031Wednesday’s Guardian newspaper included a special supplement to the Society Guardian all about the West Midlands, Heart of enterprise. If you missed it, all of the articles are available online.

The supplement includes commentary by Ian Austin MP, who re-iterated points made during his inaugural speech as Regional Minister for the West Midlands at the Observatory’s annual conference back in October 2008.

There are also articles looking at how the region is being affected by the current economic situation and what steps are being taken to address the current challenges. Regeneration schemes in the Black Country, Birmingham and North Staffordshire are featured.

Continue reading

Observatory on BBC1 Politics Show

The Observatory’s State of the Region Report will feature on the regional section of the BBC’s Politics Show this Sunday (26th Oct 08). The programme starts at 12pm on BBC1. Hope you get chance to watch.

ADDED 28/10/08: The article can be viewed on the BBC’s iplayer. The Observatory features about 43 minutes in and will be available until next Sunday (02/11/08).

Observatory annual conference a roaring success

Well, our conference is over for another year – and what a conference it was! A packed Royal Court Hotel enjoyed speeches from our new regional minister, Ian Austin, as well as Professor Carl Chinn and Professor Alan Harding.

Left to right: Richard Hyde (Chair of the Observatory), Ian Austin MP (Minister for the West Midlands), Rosie Paskins (Chief Executive of the Observatory)

Ian Austin (centre) launched the Observatory’s State of the Region 2008 report, saying:

“Through the State of the Region process it is good to see that the West Midlands Regional Observatory is putting in place practical measures to bring policy makers and research experts together.”

Continue reading

STOP PRESS: New West Midlands Minister will speak at Monday’s conference

Following the changes in Government over the weekend, we are now pleased to confirm that Ian Austin MP, the new Regional Minister for the West Midlands, will give the key-note address at the Observatory’s Annual Conference on Monday 13th October 2008.

There are still a limited number of places available. Book online now or fax us a booking form. See the full agenda.