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Post-Covid Priorities for Scotland’s City Region & Growth Deals

This event will examine priorities for City Deals following the Audit Scotland report on them in January and the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting some to re-evaluate the purpose, the timescales for delivery of projects within them and how they can aid economic recovery.

The Context

City Region and Growth Deals have been positive for Scotland’s economy. They have enhanced regional collaboration and provided a mode of delivery through which current infrastructure projects may not otherwise have gone ahead.  

However, with deals being developed against an evolving national policy backdrop, there is a lack of clarity over how to measure long-term success, what constitutes value for money and how they’ve contributed to wellbeing and the refreshed National Performance Framework.   

Furthermore, the level of accountability to communities over deal spending varies, and communities have had little involvement in formal decision-making structures. It's also unclear why some infrastructure projects are approved over others and whether councils are taking steps to mitigate the risks entailed - particularly where external partners are involved. 

There’s a lot to gain from the involvement of other partners, particularly universities, colleges, enterprise and small businesses. However, some councils and partners lack the expertise and skills required to attract partnerships and optimise the associated benefits. 

The Advisory Group on Economic Recovery’s report ‘Towards a Robust, Resilient, Wellbeing Economy for Scotland’, a blueprint for recovery from the pandemic-induced economic crisis, provided an opportunity to redress some of the issues outlined above.  If these are resolved, City Region and Growth Deals have the potential to help Scotland bounce back and “build back better” from the catastrophe that’s currently unfolding. 

So join Holyrood Communications as we discuss the issues identified in the Audit Scotland report and how they can be resolved. We’ll also look at how City Region and Growth Deals can/do contribute to wellbeing in Scotland and exhibit best practice in deal governance. Finally, we will examine strategic priorities going forward, particularly considering COVID-19, and the capacity for inclusive economic growth. 

Key Issues We'll Discuss

  • Delivering inclusive economic growth to cities and regions throughout Scotland through City Region and Growth Deals in the wake of the global public health crisis and ensuing economic consequences of it
  • What makes a good City Region Deal? Focus on Tay Cities Deal
  • Ensuring robust accountability of City Deals; discerning why some projects are given the go-ahead over others and enhancing transparancy 
  • Building on regional collaboration and partnership the deals have fostered to aide with policymaking in other areas and also to include and incoporate other partners and stakeholders, particularly private enterprise and universities
  • Overview of UK and Scottish Government priorities in this area going forward - using city deals as a way to foster economic recovery from COVD-19
  • Discussion as to how they contribute more generally to 'wellbeing' in Scotland


09:30 Registration and Refreshments 

10:00 Welcome and Introduction from the Chair 

10:05    Session 1: Context: "Delivering in a Challenging Backdrop for the Public Sector” 

Professor Duncan Maclennan, Professor in Public Policy, University of Glasgow & Member, Audit Scotland Advisory Group on City Region and Growth Deals

Senior representative, audit 

10:40    Questions and Discussion 

11:00    In the Spotlight: The Tay Cities Deal: The Prototype? 

The Tay Cities Deal has benefitted from being conceived broadly once policy had been formulated at a national level, to-date.  As such it exhibits many of the features of the ideal city deal.  As per the flow of policy, there was a regional economic strategy produced first, considering issues raised by the Community Plans and the Local Outcome Improvement Plan.  The strategy then informed the deal proposal. 

The objectives of the Tay Cities Deal are based on the same principles at the national Economic Strategy, including an incoporation of and clear emphasis upon inclusive economic growth.

The enterprise and skills agencies played a relatively large role in developing the deal and considerable effort was made to consult a wide range of stakeholders at the outset and a commitment has been made to ensure local priorities are included and progressed in and by the deal. 

Senior representative, Tay Cities Deal 

11:30    Refreshments and Networking 

11:45    Session 2: Post-COVID City Deals: Delivering Inclusive Economic Growth; Ensuring Robust Accountability and Building on Regional Collaboration Fostered To-Date 

Senior representative, City Deal 

Neil McInroy, Chief Executive, CLES

Senior representative, Universities 

Senior representative, Other Jurisdiction 

13:05   Lunch and Networking 

13:45   Interactive Session: How Can City Region and Growth Deals Be Aligned with the National Performance Framework and How Do they Contribute to Wellbeing in Scotland?  

14:25    Session 3: Best Practice in Working with the Private Sector; Involving Small Businesses and Forging Successful Alliances with Universities, Colleges and Other Partners 

Senior representative, Universities 

Senior representative, Small Business 

Senior representative, Business (x2) 

15:15    Session 4: Priorities for Government 

Senior representative, Scottish Government 

Senior representative, UK Government 

16:15    Closing remarks from Chair 

16:20    Close of Event 

Get In Touch

Book now or email or call Adam on 0131 285 1692

If you have an inspiring case study or a project that you think is relevant, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are always on the lookout for new speakers. 

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12 Nov 2020
Reduced Rate
1 place £72.50 + VAT

Voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m

Standard Rate
1 place £122.50 + VAT

Public sector organisations and voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m

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1 place £147.50 + VAT

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