We need good local economies.
We need local economies where wealth creation improves the economic and social fortunes of people and communities – bringing benefits for all.
A good local economy is one where there are strong networks across the of public, commercial and social sectors. Networks and leadership which stewards investment, so that it brings a range of economic, social and environmental benefits.
Over the last eighteen months, the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) working in partnership with Preston City Council has been working on improving and developing a good local economy.
The action research work has sought to engage with and influence anchor institutions based in the local authority boundary so that their behaviour and activities bring maximum benefit for the local economy and creates wealth for the local community. This paper reflects upon the findings of the work and the change it has instigated; together with exploring how the impact of the anchor institutions can be maximised in the future.
The work is framed by a much wider discussion and debate about how the economy of places operate and perform.
The paper comprises the following sections:
- Section 2 outlines the challenges our local economies face and the theoretical underpinnings of more progressive local economies including components which enable a good local economy;
- Section 3 outlines the activities which have been undertaken in Preston with the anchor institutions including supply chain analysis and the core findings of these activities;
- Section 4 details the key changes in the behaviour of the anchor institutions as a result of their engagement in the project and wider influences;
- Section 5 details the means by which anchor institutions can maximise the impact they bring in the future, notably through the process of procurement.
- Section 6 details the next steps for activities with anchor institutions and wider, which need to happen to maximise community wealth and ensure a good local economy is progressed.