ADEPTís new President talks about his role

21st June, 2018
Neil Gibson, has become the new President of ADEPT, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport.

Buckinghamshire County Councilís Executive Director for Transport, Economy, Environment has been a driving force behind ADEPTís transformation, and he hasnít finished yet.

Neil said: ďADEPT needs to look through a different lens. For local authorities, innovation is vital - we adapt and we design for the future, but we do it in partnership. Alliances are critical to achieving service delivery and development when faced with the impacts of year on year budget cuts. 

ďThe problems faced by local places are pressing and complex, requiring coherence and a more sophisticated approach to solve. Whether its young people and the housing market, the skills gap and productivity or infrastructure and poor transport links, these problems cannot be dealt with in silos, locally or nationally.

ďADEPT members work at both levels. As an organisation we want to see Government think through the collective ramifications for place in its decision-making. Many departments have a critical role in ensuring growth is enabled in a sustainable way, and we need to ensure that is enmeshed in their thinking.

ďPlaces need to provide a better experience for people who live there. Continuing to build our strategic alliances with corporate partners and other similar organisations is critical in developing influence, support and understanding at all levelsĒ

In his career, Neil has been a champion for major infrastructure projects as well as driving growth and investment. He had a major role in the development of ĎEnglandís Economic Heartlandí, the strategic partnership of local authorities and local enterprise partnerships across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.

Neil continued: ďWe are experiencing huge changes in how our societies live, work and play. We are standing at the edge of the next digital revolution. Electric vehicles, Artificial Intelligence and the disruptive nature of new technology mean that there is huge uncertainty and opportunity? about the future, but ADEPT members still need to plan strategically for the long term.

ďItís why our research is so important. Our digital innovation programme is examining how local highways can take advantage and implement new technology. With the support of key corporate partners and central government, we have been able to go even further and set up three key initiatives including live labs and a regional data platform co funded by the Department for Transport.Ē

Continuing ADEPTís own transformation is high up on Neilís agenda. Building on the work of recent Presidents, he will be working to create a diverse organisation, including enabling women into leadership, particularly in areas where senior roles are still dominated by men.

He said: ďADEPTís leadership team is a strong force for change. It is how we work strategically to drive a long-term consistent vision rooted in experience and best practice. Diversity is absolutely key to our future success and I want to bring in more Assistant Directors, developing the skills and experience they will need to take their careers to the highest levels.

ďFinally Iíd like to thank outgoing President, Simon Neilson. His work has been instrumental in building new partnerships and developing our strategic plan, which myself and future presidents will be working to over the coming years. Simonís commitment and ambition for ADEPT, as well as his willingness to make the case for place at every opportunity, is something the Association will continue to benefit from as he remains part of the Leadership Team.

ADEPT is the voice of Local Authority county, unitary and metropolitan Strategic Place Directors across England with responsibility for the key place based services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development, housing and waste.