Our thinking ahead of the Think Tank – Jackie Sadek, Chief Executive, UK Regeneration

As already trailed in this blog, Dr Paul Evans of UK Regeneration is participating in the Mayor’s Think Tank on the Wednesday at MIPIM. An event that will be chaired by my fellow blogger Greg Clark. The title of the session is “Consult for a better outcome”. We have been preparing for it this week and were interested in how much this chimes with our UK coalition government’s policy of the Big Society.

We have formed a UKR Big Society Task Force in order to explore how businesses in the real estate industry can engage with the Big Society. Its initial findings will be made available at our Conference “Regeneration through Localism” on March 24, in partnership with the Estates Gazette in Paddington, London. We believe that our focus should be on understanding and promoting practical experience, and UK Regeneration can supply some of this evidence. Sifting through over 20 years of UKR archives for instances where it has already been achieved, we can find numerous small-scale examples of community-led regeneration projects, working in partnership with the private sector – fine‑grain interventions that have made a major and real difference to peoples’ lives. We will aggregate this evidence.

So, for the Mayor’s Think Tank on Wednesday we already have five emerging thoughts:

  • First and foremost, we urge that we keep it simple. Incentivise businesses, but let them decide how and when to engage. No templates, no processes, no checking up. Bureaucracy kills.
  • Second, we must learn from what has worked and capture what is already happening. Look around to see the good news. This goes to the heart of why UKR has been set up.
  • Third, we are clear that excellence in consultation produces a better place, and we intend to prove it.
  • Fourth, developers can give so much more than money. Volunteering, management skills, meeting space, gift-in-kind donations. These non-cash contributions are often easier for a business to make available. Every business will find it easier to contribute something if they can do it in their own way.
  • And finally, people regeneration is crucial. Don’t underestimate the importance of the individual person in the regeneration story. Every new job is a potential life changed. In an era of severe budgets, it is right to focus on moving people into work and not just the bricks and mortar of traditional regeneration. Helping people into work through new employment will create a lasting legacy of empowerment. People regeneration can endure just like bricks and mortar!

And that is just the start of our thinking – we reckon it will be a lively session.

Top image credit : Photobank gallery

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