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What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth launches

A ground-breaking new project that will analyse and showcase the policies that can help to drive local economic growth has been launched today (Thursday 24 October) at a national event with Kris Hopkins, Minister for Local Growth, Michael Fallon, Minister for Business, and Joanna Killian, Chief Executive of Essex County Council.

What Works Centre logoThe What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, a partnership between the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Centre for Cities and Arup, will put evaluations of the policies that matter to growth – skills, regeneration, housing and employment – under the spotlight to give local decision makers the evidence they need about which policies work. It will improve evaluation standards so that we can learn more about what policies are most effective and where, and it will work with local partners to set up a series of demonstrator projects to show how effective evaluation can work in practice. 

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Department of Communities and Local Government and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

Professor Henry Overman, Director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth said: “The evidence base covering local growth policy areas like skills, housing and employment is huge and this can be overwhelming for policymakers. The What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth will help local decision makers use the available evidence to make better informed decisions about which policies are most likely to drive local growth and where.”

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: "It is important that our local growth policies have maximum impact as we continue to rebalance the economy and shift away from over-reliance on London and the southeast. The What Works Local Growth Centre will provide Government with a robust evidence base from which to design effective policy.”

Local Growth Minister Kris Hopkins said: "Strengthening local economies is a top priority. This Government has changed the economic landscape by giving local councils and business not just the money but the powers to end their dependency on Whitehall and drive their own economies. We want to ensure local leaders have all the information they need to use these powers, and the What Works Centre will provide the evidence they need to boost jobs, skills and business.”

Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of ESRC said: "The What Works Centres initiative is designed to better synthesize existing evidence for the benefit of research and policy-making. The What Works Centre on Local Economic Growth provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the use of evidence for policy and practice at a local level, demonstrating the beneficial impact that social science can have on the lives of ordinary people, as well as the difference it can make in stimulating sustainable local economic growth.”

For more information about the work of the Centre please visit www.whatworksgrowth.org or follow us on twitter @WhatWorksGrowth


For further information, please contact Rachel Morrisroe, Senior External Affairs Manager at Centre for Cities on 0207 803 4316, r.morrisroe@centreforcities.org

Jess Winterstein, LSE Press Office, 020 7107 5025, j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk


Notes to editors:

The support of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is gratefully acknowledged.

The Centre will form part of the What Works network which was launched in March 2013. The network consists of six independent centres that will gather and share the most robust evidence on what works to inform government decision making in health, education, crime reduction, early intervention, ageing and local economic growth. The new What Works centres cover spending of over £200bn in public services.

David Halpern has been appointed as What Works National Adviser to support the establishment of the What Works centres, ensuring that they meet the required standards and deliver on time. He will also set up and chair the What Works Network Council to promote the centres’ approach across Government.

24 October 2013