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Year One at the Southern Policy Centre

Why a southern think tank? We were launched in 2014 by Greg Clark and Lord Adonis to provide public policy focus for central southern England: the area from Dorset to West Sussex, and the Isle of Wight up to Oxfordshire. The region faces challenges distinct from both London and other English regions. Our public spending per head is low, our landscape is very mixed and we have a fast ageing population. Average incomes are above the national average but living…

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Perspectives on Devo-South

1. The bids so far and mapping out our challenges Our most recent research report for Business South looked at the challenges and opportunities in central southern England – incorporating some great maps from OS – and analysed the bids so far as well as the government’s own proposals. This assessment was compared to the views of key business leaders in the region who we interviewed about their priorities for devolution. See more here. 2. The citizens’ voice Over October and…

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Southern Powerhouse: lessons to learn from Manchester

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, joined the Southern Policy Centre and the Winchester Business School to discuss Manchester’s experience of devolution so far (‘Devo-Manc’). The day was kindly supported by PwC. Here are five important lessons that those building devolution deals in southern England can take from the Greater Manchester experience so far: 1. It takes time Devolution is a process built on talking and planning between equal partners. It requires a unified political voice asking for…

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Good work in the open data community

A guest post from local open data expert Mark Braggins originally published on data.gov.uk The post provides an excellent overview of some of the innovative open data work underway in our region. In my previous post I argued that a combination of ‘chance’ and open data can lead to good stuff happening. I supplied a few examples, and also mentioned ‘engineering serendipity’, where ‘chance’ is given a bit of a boost. In this post, I’m going to rattle through a few updates,…

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Why are some areas falling behind in university participation?

SPC launches major new research project into widening participation to Higher Education The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have produced and published a set of analysis that looks into trends in HE. In particular their statistics on young participation show that there are unexplained gaps in levels of participation from area to area. The Southern Policy Centre have been commissioned by HEFCE to look more closely at five local authority wards in southern England. We want to know: Whether…

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