As Chief Policy Fellow, Andy is part of the Y-PERN directorate providing overall strategic leadership of the programme, working closely with the Senior Programme Manager, Kayleigh Renberg-Fawcett. Andy leads on the coordination of the team of Y-PERN policy fellows across the region, and the delivery and evaluation of the four programme Work Packages. He has responsibility for delivering Work Package 3 which focuses on policy engagement training, dissemination, and community engagement. Andy is the key contact point for engagement and networking with academic and policy communities across Yorkshire and the UK more widely, and dissemination of Y-PERN outputs.
New job! I’m now a Y-PERN fellow, officially based in the Management School at Sheffield University, but mostly working with the South Yorkshire Combined Mayoral Authority (SYMCA, pronounced by folk who work there as ‘sim-ka’). Y-PERN (“Yorkshire & Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network”) is a pretty unique project – Research England funded it specifically to strengthen the glue between Yorkshire and Humber’s universities and its local and mayoral authorities, building on a memorandum of understanding between them. The project itself doesn’t have traditional academic research questions or output requirements; the glue-strengthening is the whole point.
Place-based approaches to policymaking seem to be gaining momentum in the UK. Whether people think it is cost-effective or feel it is just the right thing to do, the fact is that, over the last few years, there has been an increased interest in understanding the interconnections and relationships within a place and how working together can have a broader, deeper, and lasting change for the community. Within this context, in Hull and East Yorkshire, we have invited policymakers, academics and people with lived experience to sit at the same table, reflect on their role and take action and responsibility for improving the quality of life of their communities. In so doing, we have three underlying assumptions.
Elizabeth Sanderson and Dr Jamie Redman, Y-PERN Policy Fellows (South Yorkshire), at the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University Over the last few decades, the UK has seen a rise in low quality work (Goos and Manning, 2007). These are jobs which are broadly defined as low-skilled, low-paid, insecure and more …
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the first Y-PERN Policy Fellows Development Day, hosted by the University of Bradford. Part of the core strategy of Yorkshire Universities is to work with policymakers nationally and in the region. One of the mechanisms by which we do this is through the Research England-funded Yorkshire and Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network (Y-PERN). Y-PERN’s multi and inter-disciplinary team of eleven Policy Fellows, covering all four sub/city-regions of Yorkshire, is an integrated network of knowledge brokers, connecting local and regional university research and ideas directly into Yorkshire’s policymaking communities.
How should government ensure ‘value for money’ of the public purse? Recently Bec Riley and I ran a workshop on this question at the wonderful ‘Exploring Economics’ conference attended by nearly 400 civil servants. We discussed how valuation practices across local, regional, and national government are deficient – and how strategically vital green and place-based investments are being held back as a result.
The recent financial difficulties of several English local authorities has focussed attention on financial and innovations which have been pursued, extensively by some, over the past decade or so. In particular, the role of commercial investments in the financial collapses in Woking Borough Council and Thurrock have been in the spotlight, calling forth calls of ‘I told you so’ from those who cautioned against (what have subsequently been proven to be) risky investments. Councils invested some £6.6 billion in commercial property such as hotels, offices and shopping centres from 2016/17 to 2018/19 alone. However, this is far from the whole picture, as local governments have once again also displayed remarkable innovative capacity in the harshest of circumstances, generating alternative revenue streams, making novel trading and charging interventions in local markets, launching direct ‘for profit’ trading companies in municipal goods and services, creating public service cooperatives and mutuals in collaboration with communities, and exploiting procurement policies as a tool to support local economies.
The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies, has brought about a paradigm shift in the global economic landscape. The UK is staking a claim as a leading voice in the direction of AI development and regulation, however the UK regions are vastly unequal in the preparedness to use AI to support their economies and citizens.
Dr Juan Pablo Winter, Policy Fellow Y-PERN – Hull & East Yorkshire The recently released Community Life Survey 2021/22 (CLS) revealed that civic engagement and participation rates in England were lower than in previous years and present significant differences across participants’ income, age and place of residence. Those living in the least deprived areas (4th …
In November 2022 ChatGPT was launched. ChatGPT is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbot built on OpenAI’s Generative Pre-trained Transformer class of language models and it rapidly developed popularity for its detailed answers, its articulate and creative responses, and not in the least as its answers could be easily shared across social media. The AI Chatbot space is particularly competitive with releases such as Google’s Bard offering comparative functionality.