IGN research and guidance

Doing it all

Quantum logo white 1


Gill Fenna and Louise Marix Evans

R17 - masthead
R17 - report cover

Doing it all

This new landmark report, by net zero experts Quantum, examines the extent to which the 12 members within the Inclusive Growth Network (at the time of publishing) have successfully integrated key environmental and social issues into their local economic plans.

All IGN member places have declared a climate emergency, with many aiming to achieve Net Zero across their areas by 2030, well ahead of central government’s legislated target of 2050. As we emerge from the pandemic into a cost-of-living crisis, the intertwined and urgent challenges of climate change, health inequalities and economic inclusion must be addressed in tandem.

Traditionally, strategies to address these challenges have sat in silos. This means economic development has been addressed in isolation from, and often prioritised over, strategic activities on climate change or public health. Integration means viewing these challenges, and working to address them, holistically - recognising that a green economy that everyone can contribute to and benefit from will be better for health and wellbeing, and that a population with better health and wellbeing is better for business, productivity and full participation in the economy.

The report finds that the approaches and tools needed for full integration are already being used across the different local and combined authorities within the network, but these have yet to be deployed holistically within one authority.

Characteristics of a well-integrated economic strategy

  • Climate change, public health and inclusion are key pillars that run throughout the strategy
  • The relationships between climate change, the economy, health and people’s lives are clearly set out, and sections of the community most at risk are identified
  • The strategy sets out how all parts of the economy, all jobs and all carbon emissions must change, not just focusing on developing one specific sector such as jobs in renewable energy
  • It includes an assessment of the investment required across the whole of the economy and where that investment is expected to come from, including external public funding, incentives needed and investment from the finance sector, businesses and individuals
  • It is clear about who will need to act, and how they will work in partnership: businesses, communities and individuals as well as the public sector
  • It is honest about the challenges that will be faced
  • It builds on approaches and tools already being used for full integration

The overarching benefits of integrated strategies and delivery

  1. Better value for money delivering benefits across a range of different areas beyond Net Zero, including health, jobs, local supply chains, resilience and regeneration.
  2. Better places which in turn attract investment, fostering enterprise and thriving communities.
  3. Better cross-departmental collaboration within authorities and their partners.

Key recommendations

  • Turn the thinking on its head. Use “doing it all” as the starting point and assume that new outcomes are possible.
  • Be clear what will not be acceptable and prepare to be challenged. Set out requirements from others, screen out development and investment that does not meet the criteria and prepare the case for integrated delivery.
  • Get the right people talking together. Bring in the local experts, help them all to understand each other’s working languages and give permission to develop a strong strategy.
  • Provide training and support for all staff about what this means for their area of work. Support them to innovate and possibly fail and learn when doing so.
  • Review and revise financing mechanisms and operating programmes. Resource the people needed to develop and deliver an integrated strategy, and align budgets, operations, procurement, commissioning, borrowing and funding strategies with it.
  • Build strong partnerships and alliances with investors, developers, contractors and other public sector organisations. This will ensure that they are clear on what the strategy is, what your expectations are and how they can respond to it and provide solutions.