Heseltine Institute Policy Briefs to help Liverpool City Region ‘Build Back Better’

The University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place is producing a series of Policy Briefs to help support civic leaders, policy makers and the general public in Liverpool City Region (LCR) through the COVID-19 crisis and onwards, to “Build Back Better”.

The briefings will be published regularly on a dedicated section of the Heseltine Institute’s website, with the intention of creating a diverse, current and informative LCR focused repository of research and case studies.

The first Policy Brief, Responding to COVID-19 in the Liverpool City Region is now available.

It acknowledges that the region “is only part way through a long-term programme of recovery and regeneration” which makes it “especially at risk from COVID-19 and its fallout” and creates an urgency for the LCR’s universities to step up and “play a critical role…to enhance the capacity of civic leaders, anchor institutions, and the policy community”.

Policy Briefs already commissioned include:

  • The LCR Wealth and Wellbeing Programme (Alan Higgins, Head of Programme for Public Health England (PHE) North West and Dr Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool City Council)
  • Co-ordinating Public Procurement in a Time of Crisis (Dr Jo Meehan et al, University of Liverpool Management School)
  • The Devolution and ‘Levelling Up’ Agendas in England (Tom Arnold and Sue Jarvis, Heseltine Institute)
  • A New Civic Agenda for Universities (James Coe, University of Liverpool Senior Policy Advisor)
  • Building an Effective post-COVID economy in the LCR (James Hickson, LCR Combined Authority)
  • Universal Basic Income/Services (Dr Matthew Thompson, Heseltine Institute)

Heseltine Institute Director, Professor Mark Boyle said: “Whilst there is no shortage of theoretical proposals in circulation, the unprecedented nature of the lockdown means that no-one really knows in practice how best to design an exit strategy without doing further harm to health and/or the economy.

“The knowledge gap we wish to fill is predicated upon the assumption that the efficacy of the reopening of the LCR’s economy in the coming months can be enhanced by greater use of LCR based collective intelligence, and that this collective intelligence needs to be consciously built and nurtured.”

The opening Policy Brief sets out to align the series’ approach with the ‘five foundations’ outlined in the LCR Local Industrial Strategy (LCRCA 2019) – People; Business Environment; Places; Ideas; and Infrastructure.

Heseltine Institute Deputy Director, Sue Jarvis said: “To ensure the policy briefs add value we are asking policy leads across the Liverpool City Region what information would be useful for current and future planning. The Heseltine Institute will then perform a brokerage role across the University to commission a response.”

Dr Aileen Jones, Assistant Director for Policy and Strategic Commissioning at LCR Combined Authority, said: “Drawing upon the expertise of the Heseltine Institute and the University of Liverpool will be invaluable to this task, complementing and adding value to the work already under way at LCR Combined Authority.

“Now is the time for the free and fast flow of new ideas, and bold independent thinking that can shape our immediate response to the crisis as well as our long-term planning.”

Heseltine Institute Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Andrew McClelland added: “We will publish horizon-scanning and future-orientated briefings setting out imaginative futures and transformative policies for the LCR.

“A pandemic of this enormity demands that we question whether a return to normality is a worthy aspiration or whether it is necessary to think our world anew.”

As well as being available on the Heseltine Institute website, the Policy Briefs will be sent digitally to all policy leads, and other key policymakers, within the LCR’s six local authorities and the LCR Combined Authority; key figures from the Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Public Health England (PHE), Local Government Association (LGA) and the International MetroLabs Network; as well as key figures, including MPs, in the LCR All Party Parliamentary Group.

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