Headlines: November 22nd, 2005

The Deputy Prime Minister has named the team who will drive a campaign to deliver the skills seen as necessary to create sustainable communities. The eight board members of the Academy for Sustainable Communities include a local authority chief executive as well as experts in various aspects of regenearation.The team, named by John Prescott, will work alongside the Academy Chair, Professor Peter Roberts and the recently appointed Chief Executive, Dr Gill Taylor. The academy, which is based in Leeds, has been established to develop a new approach to improving the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to deliver sustainable communities. It will work with a range of professionals, including planners, architects, housing specialists, social and health workers, to ensure an integrated approach.

A meeting in Bristol next month, organised as part of Britain’s Presidency of the EU will discuss ways to develop the professional skills needed to create sustainable communities and strengthen economic prosperity as part of a wider debate on creating better places to live and sharing experience and good practice from across Europe.

The eight Academy members include Irene Lucas, who has been Chief Executive of South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council since 2002 and who formerly worked for Sunderland City Council, becoming Assistant Chief Executive there. Other members are Anne McNamara, co-founder and director of FSquared, a Manchester-based regeneration consultancy, George Martin, director of Sustainability at the Building Research Establishment, Juliet Williams, Chairman of the South West of England Regional Development Agency, Kevin Murray, who runs his own consultancy, Paul Spooner a Regional Director of English Partnerships, and a former Director of Economic Development at Birmingham City Council, Deborah Lamb, Director of Policy and Communications at English Heritage and Peter Hetherington, the recently retired Regional Affairs Editor of The Guardian.

Mr. Prescott said the Academy would drive forward a step change in the delivery of skills, to allow different occupations to work effectively together to meet the shared goal of creating sustainable communities.