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Report assesses contribution of anchor institutions to the Leeds City Region


A report which looks at anchor institutions in the Leeds City Region, examining how the impact of these big spenders can be maximised for the region as a whole, has been produced by researchers from Leeds Beckett University.

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The report, commissioned as part of the ‘More jobs, better jobs’ partnership between the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Leeds City Council and the Leeds City Region (LCR), was undertaken by Dr David Devins, Professor Jeff Gold, and Paul Willis from Leeds Business School, alongside Professor Robert Garvey and Dr George Boak from York St John University. It presents findings from a review of practice internationally and action research in the LCR, conducted between September 2014 and July 2016, which can be applied to other regions.

Anchor institutions such as local authorities, hospitals, universities, housing associations and large private sector organisations are often the biggest spenders and employers in a city region, making a vital contribution to the local economy.

The researchers found that:

  • Anchors make a significant contribution to the local economy through the large number of people they employ, the money they spend procuring goods and services, their investment in real estate and their contribution to the strategic development of an area.
  • Anchors exert considerable influence on the local economy in their own right but it is through collaboration and collective action that their impact can become transformational. Leadership is a key factor in unlocking this potential.
  • By developing a better understanding of the effects of their organisational spend, anchors can look to increase their impact on the local economy, establishing targets for redirecting spend locally, adapting procurement processes and developing capacity within local supply chains.
  • Anchors can review existing employment and recruitment practices with a particular focus on understanding and meeting the needs and aspirations of the lowest paid. The real challenge lies with influencing employment practices within their supply chains; ‘good jobs’ can be embedded within procurement and commissioning frameworks.
  • Local authorities have a key role to play in catalysing and coordinating collaborative anchor activity, making the most of their convening role and enabling other anchors to champion inclusive growth locally.
  • A collaborative anchors programme, combining a range of procurement and employment activities, has the potential to deliver a transformational local impact and can form a key pillar of a wider citylevel strategy to deliver inclusive growth.

Speaking about the research, Dr David Devins, Principal Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett, said: “In these uncertain times the research illustrates the role that anchor organisations can play in driving local economic growth – through policies and practices that consider wider social and economic aims and by working together anchors can make a significant difference to local economies, support smaller businesses and influence the quality of jobs available to local people.”  

To read the full report, please click here.

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