CLES is 30

23rd June 2016.

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) has been at the forefront of undertaking incisive policy research and analysis for the last thirty years. The organisation’s emphasis has always been upon ensuring that economic development activity brings maximum benefit for places, local economies and people. The operating model of the organisation is unique for a UK based thinktank:

  • CLES is an independent charitable organisation1;
  • CLES is based in Manchester;
  • CLES balances membership, policy research, consultancy, and media; and
  • CLES is truly here to address economic and societal ills including poverty and inequality. Over the last 30 years, CLES has experienced and responded to the challenges facing the UK:
  • CLES has operated through two recessions and changed business models to respond to the economic challenges posed;
  • CLES has witnessed five Prime Ministers and their varied ethos around economic development and poverty alleviation;
  • CLES has seen various models of regional economic development ranging from Regional Development Agencies to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs); and
  • CLES has seen evolving and changing roles in local economic development for each of the public, commercial and social sectors.

The ability of CLES to respond to changing political and policy environments is reflected in this publication. This publication does three things:

  1. It reflects on how the organisation has evolved over the last thirty years;
  2. It reflects upon how policy around economic development and regeneration has changed over the last 30 years;
  3. It reflects upon how CLES is moving forward and the organisation’s ‘offer’ now and into the future.