New Projects for 2021

Southern Policy Centre seeks to address the unique challenges of the central South through independent policy research by creating a neutral space to think.  In 2021 we begin work on a number of exciting new projects:

  • Business, environment & society Working with Terence O’Rourke Ltd, this project aims to explore how businesses across the region see their role in contributing to society’s wider environmental and social objectives. It is widely believed that after a year of ‘lockdown’, communities across the UK now see a different balance between the economy, our environment and our communities. As people have grown to value natural space and social contact, so they want to see such considerations play a greater role as we seek an economic ‘recovery’ post-pandemic: creating a so-called “green recovery”. Locally there has been much discussion about what a green recovery might look like. It could be an opportunity to respond to the challenges of climate change or to address inequalities in society. It has been suggested that key elements of such a recovery in our part of the UK would include reducing carbon emissions to deliver ‘net-zero’, reducing health inequalities, protecting and improving natural spaces, building more sustainable places and training local people in new skills to support the green economy. Businesses are key to delivering a different sort of recovery, they have an impact on the local environment and the community through their products or processes, their business practices or the way in which they treat their staff. If their contribution is to support a green recovery, then we need to understand how local businesses see their environmental and social responsibilities, and whether they plan any changes in the light of experience of the last year. You can contribute to our research project by completing this survey:  http://bit.ly/SPCBizSurvey.  It should take around 10-15 minutes to complete, and the data will be collected anonymously. A report outlining the conclusions will be published in July 2021.
  • Neurodiversity and pathways through further Education and Higher Education The term neurodiversity encompasses a wide range of neurological differences, from autism and ADHD to dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and specific language impairment. Once dismissed as having impairments to ‘correct’ mental functioning, neurodiverse individuals are now recognised as people who can express their skills and realise their potential in different ways. Their strengths in certain sectors of the economy, for example in the creative industries, are widely acknowledged.This project will explore what can help give an equality of outcomes for neurodiverse and neurotypical young people: access to HE/FE and so to employment, to ensure we make full use of young people’s talents. This is an area light on data, much of what we know is anecdotal, and we want to create a clearer evidence-based narrative on progression through the education system for neurodiverse individuals.
  • Green Recovery Working with the Green Halo Partnership, Universities of Portsmouth & Southampton and PfSH to shape a fresh approach to economic recovery which balances economic, environmental and societal objectives. The ‘Greenprint for South Hampshire’ is a pragmatic approach to how we can rebuild our economy in a more sensitive and environmentally aware way.
  • Smart South Following on from our recently completed project on Tomorrow’s City Centre, we will explore how the idea of a ‘smart city’ can work for the central South and how it can benefit everyone in the region. This project aims to bring together key organisations across the central South to explore how we can shape a model for a smart region and build a common approach which will maximise the economic, environmental and social opportunities the use of technology can offer our communities. 

Please get in touch if you wish to find out more, participate in, or sponsor any of these projects.