England & Wales Welfare and equalities

LGiU Seminar: Tackling inequalities: Issues and practical strategies for councils



We are in a period of change and transition, but however the policy landscape changes over the next year, it is likely that local communities will continue to endure hardships for some time as the economy enters a new period of uncertainty and  austerity measures already announced impact on public services, NGOs, families, and individuals.

Despite the probability of continuing hardship, a new consensus is emerging that inequality is not only morally unacceptable and politically destabilising but bad for economic growth. Both the IMF and OECD have highlighted the dangers of inequality and a new phrase – inclusive growth – has become popular as a guiding principle for practice in local economic development.

Drawing on the experiences and  the role of Fairness Commissions as part of broader alliances with civil society and local communities, the focus today  is on how local authorities can build on and develop existing achievements  beyond 2016 .

The seminar is about:

  • Fairness Commissions
  • Inclusive Economic Growth
  • Working with local communities to promote equality

The morning sessions will deliver information and advice on the practical steps local authorities can take to protect the most vulnerable in their communities, support the living standards of local people, and distribute the impacts of austerity and the proceeds of growth fairly.

The afternoon session will be led by Professor John Diamond, co-researcher on a national study funded by the Webb Memorial on Fairness Commissions. The afternoon session will allow participants to engage in depth with the issues raised both with the speakers and each other.

Much of the material for this seminar will be based on a special edition of the journal Local Economy on Framing Fairness in Austere Times. Free copies of the papers in the edition will be available at the seminar.

Speakers confirmed so far:

  • Andrew Jones, London South Bank University (Chair)
  • Professor John Diamond, Edge Hill University
  • Charlotte Alldritt, RSA
  • James Henderson, Sheffield City Council
  • Professor Martin Jones, University of Sheffield
  • Dr David Etherington, Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development (CEEDR) Middlesex University



09:55: Welcome: Andrew Jones

10:00:  Can inclusive growth tackle poverty? What might this mean at a local level? Charlotte Alldritt, RSA

11:00:  Can a devolved employment and skills system support inclusive growth? Martin Jones, University of Sheffield & Dr David Etherington, Middlesex University

12:00: Delivering an anti-poverty strategy: The case of Sheffield James Henderson, Director of Policy, Performance and Communications, Sheffield City Council,

13:00: Lunch

14:00: Building Fairness in Local Communities: Professor John Diamond

  • Devolution and civic engagement post-Brexit: What next?
  • Fostering inclusive economic growth: A break with the past?
  • Communities against poverty: With or against local government?
  • What lessons can we draw from practice?

16:00: Close



Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones has over 25 years’ experience in economic development in various posts in central government, Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs), commercial consultancies, think tanks, and academia. Over the past decade, he has combined regular employment with a mix of consultancy, teaching, research, and editorial activities He has conducted and led numerous research and evaluation studies, on topics ranging across local labour market analyses, urban regeneration, recycling, urban governance, neighbourhoods, and HE-employer engagement.  He has edited the journal Local Economy since 2004, which expanded publication from four issues a year to eight in 2009. Founded in 1986, and currently published by Sage, Local Economy covers a wide range of issues influencing local development, including broad social and economic processes and policies originating at national and international levels. In addition, he currently teaches economics at London South Bank University.

Professor John Diamond

Professor John Diamond is   the Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Professional Practice at Edge Hill University (UK). This year he was co-editor of a Special Issue of Local Economy on the theme of  Framing Fairness in Austere Times. In 2015 he was invited to give the Annual Keib Thomas Memorial Lecture in London. He is currently the national chair of a not for profit  the Association for Research with Voluntary and Community Organisations (ARVAC) . He has over 25 years’ experience of working as an external evaluator for a range of funded agencies and charitable organisations. He acts as a critical friend to CEOs working in the not for profit sector.  In 2014 he was a co-researcher on a national study funded by the Webb Memorial Trust which examined the role of Fairness Commissions and is working on a follow up project on the  theme of ‘What Makes a Good Society’ for the Trust. He is, also, co-editor of the Sage journal Teaching Public Administration and   co-editor of an annual series – Critical Perspectives on International Public Sector Management (published by Emerald and launched in 2012). He is responsible for the Collaborations Across Boundaries module on the MSc Leadership and Management Development programme at the University.

Charlotte Alldritt, Director of Public Services and Communities, RSA

Charlotte is the RSA’s Director of Public Services and Communities. She currently leads the Inclusive Growth Commission, chaired by Stephanie Flanders, former economics editor of the BBC. This programme follows on from the City Growth Commission, which Charlotte also directed – working with Lord O’Neill as Chair – to drive the vision for city-regional devolution and inspire the creation of the Northern Powerhouse. Charlotte joined the RSA from the Cabinet Office, where she was a Senior Policy Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister.  There she covered immigration, energy, and housing and planning policy, having previously led the Government’s strategy on Transparency and Open Data. Charlotte’s primary research interests are in information and accountability, and she runs a programme of work at the RSA, OPSN (Open Public Services Network), that seeks to improve the quality and use of data in public services.  OPSN published its first report, ‘Empowering Parents, Improving Accountability’ in September 2013 in association with the Guardian.

She holds an MRes Public Policy and Management (Birkbeck College, University of London) and BA (Hons) Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Oxford University).  In 2012 she was named a ‘UK Emerging Leader’ by the International Women’s Forum in recognition of her work in social care policy and UK-US collaboration on health care and technology.

James Henderson

James is Director of Policy, Performance and Communications at Sheffield City Council, a post he has held since April 2013. His remit includes a range of strategic corporate functions, including strategy, policy, analysis and insight, equalities, and communications. He is also responsible for the delivery of some of the authority’s key democratic functions, including elections and scrutiny. His team leads on the public service reform agenda for the authority, and have also been instrumental in securing the recent Devolution Deal with central government. James has responsibility for the authority’s anti-poverty and inequalities work, including the 2012 Fairness Commission and recent anti-poverty strategy. He was also involved in the establishment of Sheffield Money, a ground-breaking initiative to tackle high-cost credit in the city.

He joined Sheffield City Council in 2006 from Barnsley MBC, where he began his career as a member of the National Graduate Development Programme. He also spent 6 months on secondment to the Homes and Communities Agency Set-Up Team in 2009.

Professor Martin Jones

Professor Martin Jones: is Director of the White Rose Social Science Doctoral Training Centre (WRDTC), an ESRC-funded consortium between the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York. Martin is also Professor of Urban and Regional Political Economy in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield. Martin is currently leading on an ESRC funded project as part of the Wales Institute of Social Economic Research and Data Methods (WISERD) Civil Society ESRC-funded Research Programme. The project is entitled: ‘Spaces of New Localism: Stakeholder Engagement and Economic Development in Wales and England.’ Martin is also co-editor of the Taylor & Francis Journal, Territory, Politics, Governance, and a Board Member of the Regional Studies Association.

Who should attend?

All councillors and officers with an interest in:

  • Economic development
  • Poverty reduction
  • Community engagement
  • Equalities