Ruth Jeffs, chair of ACE Midlands, reports on her meeting with Allan Andrews, Senior Policy Advisor to Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.
Malcolm Davidson (WSP), Petros Kkolas (chair Progress Network Midlands) and myself met with the Mayor’s advisor, Allan Andrews to discuss the regional aspects of ACE’s current priorities, including productivity and collaboration. As senior adviser to the mayor, Allan is in-charge of a range of policy areas, including skills, transport and housing. In the wake of the national story around Carillion, the discussions also veered towards issues such as public procurement and levels of risk.
The region is confidently approaching opportunities in the next few years. Coventry has been awarded the City of Culture in 2021, Birmingham the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and, of course, HS2 will help to ensure the region is better connected to the rest of the country. We discussed how the WMCA will have to work collectively with other regional groups like Midlands Connect and the regional Highway Authorities to ensure the region is able to meet the challenges of delivering these high-profile projects, hit deadlines and make the most of the opportunities they afford.
This meeting demonstrated the value in our regional groups and their approach to key local stakeholders. They were impressed that we were engaging with the combined authority at a local level (and not from London). I’m sure this initial outreach will lead to future opportunities for ACE and our members from across the region. We look forward to engaging further with them in the future.
Ruth Jeffs is chair of ACE Midlands and Regional Director for Infrastructure and Environment at Waterman.