Sunday, 8 November, 2020


Jamie Ounan

We believe that the best solutions are yet to be discovered and the best outcomes yet to be delivered. That is why we prepare organisations for change and help them implement it. We do this through an intimate understanding of their business, a relentless focus on delivery, the use of techniques that challenge the status quo and bridge traditional disciplines. We provide a range of services to public and private organisations including project and programme management, property consultancy, change management and strategy development and strategic advice. Contact us to discuss a project.

Sunday, 8 November, 2020



We’re in a state of reflection this Remembrance Day weekend, thinking about those that served and sacrificed over 102 years ago. We find ourselves thinking about their courage and conviction as we face another global threat. England enters a second lockdown that is expected to last until 2 December, which should help in reducing the spread of the virus and allow families and friends to reunite come Christmas. We continue to be inspired by local authorities rallying together to support vulnerable residents, provide guidance for small businesses, and get on with the business of delivering vital services.


We’re also optimistic as we see several indicators that suggest this lockdown will not be as severe as the last. What’s changed since the first national lockdown? Businesses and services have the muscle memory to pivot quickly. We see high streets across the country nimbly revert back to delivery and takeaway models whilst ensuring social distance measures are maintained. Local authorities have strived to ensure schools and colleges could stay open, giving parents and guardians time for work and other caregiving duties. However, we at Inner Circle know that it remains the most vulnerable that will be hit hardest as central Government grants and the extra local grants run out. Once again, communities will be asked to exemplify resilience and grit as they mobilise Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups to help neighbours. Amid budget shortfalls and challenging decisions, we believe that this environment will require a more activist local government to cover the gaps and keep other priorities  progressing.


Luckily, some local government help is on the way. Moved by Marcus Rashford’s impressive campaign, the Government has responded by announcing £170m of new Council funding to help stop vulnerable children and families from going hungry in the months ahead. Meanwhile, MHCLG Minister Robert Jenrick has launched the ‘Protect Programme’ intended to support Council’s with a further £15 million to make sure every rough sleeper is offered somewhere safe to go.


As many of our reader’s will know, the Government’s consultation on the Future of Planning closed a few weeks ago. Our team have taken time to reflect on what these changes mean for our clients and the impact these proposals might have development, communities and towns, and local authorities across the country. We’re sharing our thoughts and insights with you here so you can be ready for change.



This week, our virtual Inner Circle studios were delighted to welcome Stephen McDonald, Director of Growth at the London Borough of Barnet, to speak to our team about his local government experience and the 20-year journey of the award-winning Grahame Park regeneration project, something we’ve been honoured to work on. Progress can take time, has ups and downs, unexpected events, and disruptions. It’s the managers that collaborate and maintain a clear-eyed view of the goal that will get your projects across the finish line. Our Founding Director Chris Twigg recently wrote about project disruption and what it takes to get them back on track, which you can read about here.


What have we been watching? Like many of you, we’ve been glued to the news of results come in from the US election. After straining our maths and US geography skills, we think it’s time for some much needed mental relaxation. We suggest these podcasts and shows to help you unwind:

  • Chef’s Table: Find inspiration and get lost in the sauce and the culinary genius of chefs around the world like Massimo Bottura, Christina Tosi, Dominique Crenn, and beyond. Crave something juicier? There’s now a BBQ edition of the series.
  • Home: This Apple TV+ series shares an inside look at some of the most stunning and innovative homes around the world, from a towering residence made of bamboo to a cottage inside a giant greenhouse and beyond.
  • Revisionist History: Pop psychologist and award-winning author Malcolm Gladwell re-examines the overlooked and misunderstood. The subject matter is eclectic, inspiring, and insightful, ranging from the Boston Tea Party to the world’s most controversial semi-colon.



Major banks in London have started directing all but essential workers to revert to home working, following implementation of the second lockdown. The change will be a further blow to the City of London and Canary Wharf financial districts, whose skyscrapers have sat largely empty for most of the year with footfall at local businesses a fraction of normal levels. How can senior leaders and elected members spark local activity and drive engagement? We are confident in the power of arts and culture as a powerful tool to bring people together. You can learn more about our thoughts on how the arts can drive activity to your city and town centre here.


Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar that we’re developing with The Voice of Authority on Town Hall and Civic Centre regeneration. Town Halls are often the civic heart of a local authority and serve as a focus point for the community. Some Council’s, such as the London Borough of Waltham Forest and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham are optimising civic centre assets to rejuvenate places and energise spaces. We’ll be sharing our thoughts and ideas alongside esteemed peers in the next few weeks and will share the details with you shortly.


Finally, we applaud the compassion and care everyone has shown in supporting neighbours, children, and vulnerable seniors through this second lockdown. We all hope this sacrifice will pay off.