Thursday, 29 July 2010

Council economic on the economics

On 23 July Blood and Property asked the council to reply to this story: Hole in Council's economic analysis. The story reported a Freedom of Information request by a Labour activist for a draft of the council's Local Economic Assessment.

At the time the council's response was: "Due to difficulties in recruiting to the post of Policy Adviser - Social and Economic Affairs and subsequently the timings of data analysis being done at the sub-regional level there has been a delay in delivery. We are now looking at an interim report by the end of August 2010."

So Blood and Property asked:
1 Has the council got a Local Economic Assessment? (Not a great question as it should have been 'draft' or 'interim' assessment.)
2 Has the council found a policy adviser if so when was he/she employed and who is it?
3 Do Hackney politicians and officers have a good economic view of the borough and what documents do they use to understand the borough's economy?
4 Hackney published its own economic newsletter/bulletin for some years - when was the last one published?

On 29th July 2010 the Council sent this reply:

“Central government did not set a completion date of April 2010 for the delivery of Local Economic Assessments. Hackney, like all other councils, has until the end of March 2011 to complete its assessment and is making good progress with its development.

“As a council, we use a wide range of sources to gain an understanding of the borough and its economic landscape. This detailed understanding informs council policy and ways in which we can improve services for people and businesses in Hackney.

“The Council also works closely with partners and experts through the Economic Development Partnership, which is part of Team Hackney, the borough’s Local Strategic Partnership.”

This answer addresses one out of the four questions asked - whether the council should have produced a Local Economic Assessment yet. The answer is still no but the council seems to have avoided mention of the interim report for which it provided its own stated delivery date of August 2010.

In terms of which documents councillors and officers can use to understand the economics of the borough... no details were provided. A year ago, in July 2009, Blood and Property asked for the latest economic reports on Hackney. They were provided but they were all dated 2008.

These documents described the borough but asked questions about the state of its economy, particularly the worklessness issue (discussed here: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth) - it suggested more work needed to be done. I'm not sure if there have been any updates.

Neither is it clear whether the council still publishes its economic bulletin, or when the last one was produced?

The other question that remained unaddressed was: Has the relevant policy officer been employed?

1 comment:


    Sonia Khan at the EDP Board meeting mentioned that this data was being published, so great news there. You do know that its a public meeting and you can come along and enjoy the ride 1st hand?

    No sign of the Strategic Partners' Economic Development Strategy Action Plan in the papers but I'll email Sonia and ask for them to be published, which will no doubt take about 18 working days.