Assessing Local Economies
17th January 2011
What is it?
Given current levels of uncertainty about future economic performance, the process of understanding and assessing the characteristics of your local economy is more important than ever. CLES has therefore developed a tool that provides a sophisticated way to create an accurate profile of an area.
The CLEAR tool involves the following stages:
- Calibrate – We employ a diagnostic to determine the starting point for the assessment and to calibrate the approach for the rest of the study, ensuring we build upon stakeholders’ knowledge and skills
- Local context – We focus on compiling the evidence that matters most to a local area. Our data scanning and collection tools ensure a relevant and proportionate amount of evidence is included
- Economic review – Our approach is grounded in economic theory, but at the same time it is sensitive to the practical needs of communities, places and environmental stewardship
- Analyse – The analysis captures the extent and potential benefits of a distinctive market position, while also identifying the constraints to growth
- Recommend – Strong local economic assessment (LEA) reports must highlight policy thinking that helps to prioritise future investment. We can draw on a vast library of international good practice to inform strategic choices
How can it help?
The CLES approach to Local Economic Assessment includes an integrated set of values and approaches that help to bring together a shared understanding of the challenges involved in an area’s future development. Our approach is:
- Collective – We actively engage stakeholders throughout the process in developing and agreeing a clear assessment that they are committed to supporting and completing
- Holistic – We take a holistic approach in analysing social, economic and environmental issues against a clear sustainable communities framework
- Added-value – We deliver LEA in a way that builds upon both existing knowledge and skills, while at the same time developing local stakeholders’ capacity for future assessment
- Inclusive – The LEA is completed in an open and inclusive way that helps to ensure the findings take account of the needs and interests of the diverse communities and organisations that make up the fabric of a locality
- Robust – Evidence, data and statistics are the backbone of any LEA. We apply a best practice approach to all our analysis – ensuring robustness and objectivity, strategic-fit and honest interpretation
Where has it been used?
We have a track record in delivering Local Economic Assessment across England. Here is a selection of examples of recent work:
- London Borough of Brent LEA – We provided a detailed understanding of the key drivers and the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the local economy. It is being used to inform other local strategies including: Borough Strategy; Regeneration Strategy; Worklessness Assessment; Child Poverty Strategy
- Neighbourhood assessment in Walsall – This entailed an assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing Birchills, a local neighbourhood within Walsall. The study provided case studies of international good practice to help develop local enterprise, tackle worklessness and deliver sustainable development
- South East Diamonds for Growth – Our work involved a study of the knowledge economy encompassing seven urban areas across the South East of England, including a review of the key assets and industry sector performance
Who can I contact for more information about this CLES Tool?
Adrian Nolan, Senior Policy Consultant:
0161 236 7036