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I've come back with three strong messages for partnership based regeneration in the UK.
Firstly, a number of people who attended our debate ‘Local Authorities - Meeting the Challenges', told me how valuable it was to be able to hear what other local authorities were doing and discuss with them the different approaches to issues such as joint ventures.
Secondly, it was really encouraging to see the extent to which local authorities are now addressing their financial and housing challenges with a proactive approach to their property assets that is probably unparalleled in local government history.
However, this was tempered by the third message, which is that local authorities are often having to address this with seriously depleted management resources. So it was encouraging that in most cases local authorities are very keen to ensure that they adopt procurement and delivery solutions that are as simple as possible. This is where the sharing of best practice is particularly vital; it really is essential that we avoid a situation where, in a year or two’s time, we end up with 32 significantly different approaches to joint ventures across London!
It is perhaps rather curious that we need to go to the south of France to secure this level of sharing of experiences, but until there's a comparable event in the UK then I expect a similar exodus in future years!
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