Grant Thornton and CCN roundtable: quantifying levelling-up

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2022 | 28 February 2022

The County Councils Network and Grant Thornton today release a new report, designed to explore the challenges and opportunities for county authorities in the levelling-up agenda.

If levelling up is to truly be effective as a policy, then it’s vital that a deep and rich understanding of place sits at the heart of it. Local leaders must be able to identify the priorities for their places, make robust cases for investment, understand what works and why, and measure change.

These issues formed the basis of a roundtable discussion at the County Councils Network (CCN) annual conference that took place in November 2021.

Download the report here.

Revisiting the insightful debate that the roundtable fostered – post publication of the white paper – sheds valuable light on what needs to happen next; how you move from policy to delivery; and how you enable local government to enact genuine change on the ground.

The consensus of the participants was that the Levelling up agenda combined with effective devolution offers a real opportunity for places to realise their ambitions. However, some of the concern around missed opportunities, that flagged at the roundtable, will still exist.



Therefore, if levelling up is to be a success it’s more important than ever that:

  • Devolution is rolled out at pace
  • government doesn’t adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach and interventions are tailored to local needs
  • competition between places is minimised through transparent and clear messages
  • a combination of capital and revenue funding is made available and that places have the flexibility to use that funding to respond to local circumstances and support local ambitions
  • decision making is joined up across government departments.

Grant Thornton conclude that if government can do this then the white paper will offer local leaders a genuine opportunity to transform their areas and really make a difference to the people and places they serve.