About CLES

CLES is the UK’s leading, independent think and do tank realising progressive economics for people and place. Our aim is to achieve social justice, good local economies and effective public services for everyone, everywhere.


Our approach

We are a think and do tank, which means that our creative thinking and strategic policy activity is informed by our practice. We are part of a global network of ‘thinkers and doers’ who are articulating and progressing a new, socially just mainstream in economics and social policy.


Our expertise

Our experienced team are specialists in their fields, and at the forefront of pioneering work relating to Local Government, local economic development, community wealth building, system change and co-production, housing, public health, cultural assets, environmental change, place-making and planning, procurement, finance and investment, good governance and devolution, employability and skills, social value and inclusive growth.

Whether in the role of assessor, facilitator, strategist, measurer or influencer, collaboration is a key means by which we achieve workable answers for policy makers, elected politicians and service users.


Our activities

We influence policy and change behaviour in local government and other organisations across the UK and beyond. We aim to progress economic interventions and ideas which bring maximum benefit to people and places, within the limits of the environment.

Our activities include independent action research, evaluation and performance management, policy briefings, best practice advice and strategy development. Alongside project work, CLES produces publications, training and events, which are available to everyone.


Our partners

A core part of our work involves collaborating with a diverse range of partners from the public, business and social sectors, as well as local and national governments, across the UK, Europe and beyond. Projects may be developed with research foundations or CLES members and network, commissioned directly by organisations from different sectors, or brokered through engagement.


Key affiliations

We have a wide range of affiliated relationships. Our team plays a pivotal role in international relationships including the URBACT Procure network. Closer to home, we have an ongoing involvement in UK national fora and devolved administrations, including a key role in developing the Understanding Scottish Places platform – commissioned by the Scottish Government. We are also active in more regional and city regional contexts, notably the Greater Manchester Social Value Network. We also work in association with New Start magazine to ‘articulate the alternative’ for places across the UK.