I am delighted to be taking up the role as Chair of Developing Consensus (DC), although I have very big boots to fill following on from Adam Serfontein’s outstanding time as chair since DC was first established. I would like to thank Adam, and all of the Steering Group, on behalf of all the members for all their time, effort and the numerous successes that DC has had over the years.
It is 12 years since the inception of Developing Consensus, which was established to create a joined-up approach between public and private sector organisations to unlock barriers to development, create the right conditions for growth, attract inward investment and enable the delivery of new homes, offices and infrastructure for the businesses and the residents of the North East. Collaboration has been the core theme, working in partnership with the North East LEP, CBI, North East Chamber of Commerce and Local Authorities and we will be sharing some reflections on the journey DC has been on over the coming weeks and months to illustrate the benefits of working as a collaborative voice and what can be achieved through the coalition of the willing.
My role as chair comes at a time when that collaborative voice cannot have more importance in the future of our region. The signing of the landmark devolution deal is a gamechanger for our region, to enable us to unlock funding to investment, to create a strategy for growth that builds on the region’s aspirations and inward investment opportunities. The success of the delivery of the objectives of the deal will need significant public/private working. This will undoubtedly be one of the key priorities for the Developing Consensus community as we look forward to being at the table of the new Combined Authority.
There are of course many challenges, and the ability to achieve delivery on the ground in light of significant resource and economic challenges is an area of concern for us all.
At this pivotal moment for the region, it is also timely for us to look at re-framing Developing Consensus. How do we all engage as members of DC to be part of this exciting time for the region, in a constructive and solution-driven way?
That is not for me, as chair, or the steering group alone to determine. As such we are proposing to host a DC members event on the 26th April 2023, where we will be exploring what you as members consider the priorities are for the region; how do we as an organisation ensure we have seats at the many tables to support the significant opportunity this region has and ensure the success of our devolution objectives. This will be an interactive, workshop event. We will be contacting all existing members further on this event in due course and of course any new member organisations/companies are welcome. An early indication of interest would be appreciated.
DC will continue to lobby and support the region in the interim, prior to our April event and also please do not hesitate to get in touch.
DC – A collaborative voice with a common purpose, to work in partnership in delivering development and economic growth.